John Whitehead has been warning us about the growing surveillance state in America for decades. The increase in surveillance has taken place under both Republican and Democratic presidents. But he is seeing another element that concerns him even more.
To illustrate it, he reminds us of the Steven Spielberg movie, Minority Report. This dystopian film is set in the future “where police agencies harvest intelligence from widespread surveillance, behavior prediction technologies, data mining, [and] precognitive technology.” The goal is to stop a crime before it takes place.
He reports that we have more than 123 real-time crime centers in the country. This is where local police agencies can upload and share massive amounts of surveillance data along with other data and intelligence gathered from state and federal agencies. This comes not only from surveillance cameras but includes facial recognition technology, gunshot sensors, and social media monitoring.
The natural reaction from some people is that we shouldn’t be concerned about all this surveillance if we have nothing to hide. In fact, I heard that very comment last week in a meeting I attended.
Yes, you should be concerned because even saying the wrong word or attending the wrong meeting can turn you into a suspect. He mentions a few harmless words that can be trigger words for certain algorithms. Attend a political rally and you might be listed as a potential threat. Leaked materials have shown these centers tracking people at rallies for racial justice, environmental issues, conservative issues, and third-party candidates.
Authors like George Orwell, Aldous Huxley, and Phillip K. Dick warned about a future police state. This election you need to ask candidates what they plan to do about this growing surveillance state in America.