I should hope by now that the general public, at least here in the US, is aware that our governments are always watching what we do online. It’s been public knowledge since 2013 that we’re being watched. But wait! It’s okay guys, they’re just looking for terrorists! But… who are “terrorists”?
If you were to ask the average street-goer circa 2007, when the Protect America Act passed and PRISM began, they might say a terrorist is a guy from the middle east who hates America, and wants us all dead and will do anything to make that happen. But is that who your government considers a terrorist? Do you know who your government considers a terrorist?
From 2014 to 2016, US cyber security professionals were contracted to the United Arab Emirates under the guise of bolstering their nation’s cyber security. These US citizens were told to train the UAE’s team in monitoring terrorists and other “national threats”. Essentially, they wanted their own NSA. Over time, some of US employees noticed that the targets were less “terrorists” and more “human rights activists.” Some these “terrorists” were even US citizens; US journalists, even! Of course, this didn’t stop their UAE employers from labeling them as terrorists. As far as the UAE’s government was concerned, these people were terrorists! They posed a threat to the government’s control over its people, and therefore they needed to be controlled, threatened, and even eliminated, if possible.
In America, we like to believe that we control our government. We like the idea that if worse comes to worse, that we can just take back the rule, and oust the bad guys. Conversely, I think it’s a fair assumption that all governments seek to control their populace, and all governments will try to eliminate, in some way or another, threats to their control.
There are real terrorists out there; people who wish to instill fear in you to prevent you from living a happy life. Real terrorists like Chaya Raichik, Anderson Lee Aldrich, and the group behind the North Carolina substation attacks. All of these people really do want to make the public scared to go outside and live their lives. What you should question, though, is when your government creates an anomalous out group, labels them as “terrorists”, and calls on you to hate “them”, without every defining who “they” are.
Always know who your enemies are, and know why they’re your enemies.