Imagine a world like ours but where a temporary portal could be constructed between two different locations allowing people to simply walk between these two places with a single step.
Now imagine that this technology is first discovered by an eccentric inventor who rather than patent it, decides to have some fun. He persuades the landlords of some local pubs (he’s based near Portsmouth in the UK) to host a weekly “National Geographic Spectacular” evening where he sets up his portal and dials in various interesting places for people to look at or even briefly visit by stepping through.
What would eventually spur the Government to try to take control of his invention and would the inventor stand any reasonable chance of prosecution for any of the offences he would probably commit? Given the extraordinary nature of the device, his unwillingness to show anyone outside of the pub cliental and his claim in court that the case was preposterous nonsense (with expert evidence from professional scientists if required) and that all he was doing was creating a very clever optical illusion.
If his house was raided nothing would be found. He has no equipment, lab or workshop (at least not locally…).
Example National Geographic Spectacular week 3 At the Hero’s pub Waterlooville about 8 miles north of Portsmouth: The inventor’s voice slowly builds to a crescendo “All the way from Zion National Park in Utah USA … I bring you … Angels Landing” a curtain opens and a few people venture through for a closer look “don’t go too far, mind the edge it’s a steep drop and MAKE SURE YOUR BACK BEFORE 11:00”.
Edit: Re legality, no serious issues initially, but think what’s bound to happen eventually. Perhaps on this night some Brits from the pub wander off and don’t get back by closing time when the portal is closed down and some American “tourists” come through the other way get chatting have a few beers and don’t make it back either. The inventor goes on holiday for a week and they’re stranded.
I suspect the National Geographic Spectacular shows would soon have the pubs packed and people with less than good intentions might take advantage and the press would take an interest. Then what about week 4 – The blue eye of Siberia?