We Are Living in a Digital Police State. You Can Thank Big Tech.
DHS and Silicon Valley have dumped money and new surveillance tech into local police departments across the country.
Since the 9/11 attacks, private tech companies have partnered with the U.S. government to rapidly expand the digital police state through federal grant programs that critics say shield from public scrutiny billions of dollars funneled to local law enforcement. Expansive anti-terrorism efforts at all levels of government failed to thwart recent mass shootings by white supremacists, not to mention the January 6 attack on the Capitol, but advocates say Muslim, Black, Brown and immigrant communities are still targeted by the surveillance dragnet, particularly in big cities with large police forces that seek out federal money for high-tech cameras, military-grade weapons and spying gadgets.
Without private tech companies, there would be no Department of Homeland Security (DHS), according to a new report released December 6 by a coalition of racial justice and digital rights groups. The Bush administration created the DHS shortly after 9/11, and companies such as Microsoft and LexisNexis leveraged the crisis to position themselves as “key partners” to the government,pushing for militarized counterterrorism technologies by lobbying policy makers and promoting new surveillance software and data collection products. The report claims the creation of DHS “forcibly” reframed federal immigration services, emergency response and data analysis under a mission to “secure the homeland,” a reorganization that codified a false link between immigration and terrorism and put Muslim communities in particular at risk.