What a great twist on the old concept of Big Brother. It’s true that for all the threats to our civil liberties with the invention of high tech surveillance methods and panic inspired legislative abuses like the Patriot Act, the rise of cell phone videos has exposed the dark underbelly of institutional racism and an over militarized police force.
However, we must be very clear about how easily the eye of Big Brother could be turned back in favor of the police state. Hearing certain politicians rant that Muslim neighbors and family members should have reported that the San Bernardino terrorists were making pipe bombs raises the possibility that fear mongering could turn those same cell phones back on ourselves, with people calling the police for any suspicion, regardless of how deranged. And it isn’t a small jump to go from paranoia driven accusations to ones where citizens begin making accusations as a way to hurt people they don’t like, or ruin a competitor’s business.