In recent months, authorities in at least two countries, Germany and Israel, have suggested putting electronic monitors on people with ties to or a history of involvement with “terrorist” groups. While at the moment this is targeted at a narrow circle of people, this effectively opens the door to discussion of monitoring a range of people viewed as “political dissidents,” “subversives”, “revolutionaries”, “militants,” etc. In the light of the recent upsurges in political activity in the US, especially the mobilizations among people of color around issues of police violence and immigrant rights, there is cause for concern.
In the political movements of the 1960s, phone tapping was routine practice. But with today’s technology and the rise of the surveillance state, the methods and potential targets of tracking people’s movements, associations as well as their biometrics and body chemistry are seemingly endless. This is not Big Brother but Big Data gone mad. Anyone concerned with democracy needs to be monitoring this trend and fighting to keep human rights and freedom of movement and association as a top priority.
Here are the links to the stories about Israeli and German ideas on monitoring: