The U.S. is a surveillance state. Agencies like the NSA, CIA, and FBI have unprecedented access to the data of individual citizens, both innocent and not. This access comes with little to no formal oversight and is provided to people at all levels in many state organizations. This started with Bush, grew massively under Obama, and is being handed over to Trump. Coupled with the vast militarization of the police force and incredibly lax gun ownership laws, and the U.S. is inching ever closer to a Nineteen eighty-four/Brave New World (depending on how you view Netflix’s proliferation) situation.
It’s not just a governmental surveillance that is increasing either. More and more employers are employing tracking devices on company issued computers/cell phones. Institution of health tracking programs via wearables like Fitbit are also becoming more and more common (see Whole Foods where employees are rewarded with higher discounts on food purchasers for meeting certain health goals every month). Private companies are also increasingly likely to tacitly and actively help governmental organizations access private data through backdoor channels. Companies like Facebook and others are also collecting massive amounts of data about private citizens every day, myself included.
If it isn’t obvious now, after the election of Donald Trump, the government is not your friend and appears to be turning by all accounts into an enemy. With the government more willing to access private citizen’s data, and police forces willing and able to use deadly force at every opportunity, we shouldn’t be giving them the chance to use their power. And no, this doesn’t mean to fall in line and fearfully submit, that would only make things worse. It means not calling the cops every time you hear a noise or see some kids doing graffiti. It means not calling the cops because you smell weed in the hallway. It means not reporting someone because “they look suspicious.” It means helping your coworkers understand what is being tracked and how to stop or slow down that tracking. It means taking the blame for infractions at work, even if they weren’t your fault. It means not giving every website this side of PornHub access to your Facebook account.
This doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t call the police if you witness a murder, or ignoring it if someone is actively recruiting for a terrorist group. What you do need to do is not help the surveillance state get any stronger. Power only grows in the face of inaction. So throw some action back in the state’s face.