The Surveillance State: The Proliferation of Monitoring Tech

Imagine this scenario: it is early morning and you haven't slept much. You're already running late for work as you enter the metro station. You can your transport chip card which opens the first gate as the digital display welcomes you showing what money is left on your card. Next there is a camera and a monitor facing you, a recorded voice asks you to please look into the camera as your temperature is measured and your facial expression is recorded and fed into a database that detects hostility. The monitor turns green and the gate opens, you can now walk to the train platform.

The imaginary scenario above is in fact one that to some extent already exists in some parts of the world; there are now a broad array of surveillance systems that not only detect who we are, where we go, what we are doing, but also -- how we are acting or feeling.

Over the past 20 years governments and related security institutions and companies, have developed and implemented a far-reaching array of surveillance tools. They have done so, in part, as a response to citizen demands for increased safety, while also seeking to suppress challenges to authority and groups designated as targets for a broad range of socio-political reasons.

Beyond the increased capacity of governments to create and wield surveillance technology, what has also shifted on a global scale is the transference of tools from one country to another. Through political connections, business agreements and strategic alliances, wealthier governments have successfully exported high tech surveillance and suppression technology to virtually every corner of the planet. Creating a reality where any individual or group deemed suspect by a government are now being targeted by the most sophisticated technology available. It no longer matters how small you may be, how limited your resources are, if powerful forces are interested in your activities, they can target you using unprecedented resources that few citizens would know about or have oversight over.