In the U.S., carrying out military interventions abroad has undermined freedom at home.
The Cambridge Analytica/Facebook scandal continues to be front-page news. According to current reports Cambridge Analytica obtained private Facebook data, which it used to send pro-Trump material to targeted Facebook users. These reports have been met with outrage in Washington, D.C. The Federal Trade Commission has opened an investigation and U.S. senators have called for Mark Zuckerberg, the Facebook CEO, to testify in front of Congress.
Calls by Congress for increased oversight to prevent private companies from surveilling people are extremely ironic given that they themselves recently renewed a section of the 2008 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act which allows for the warrantless surveillance of Americans. Issues regarding the appropriate use of government surveillance are also at the center of Robert Mueller’s investigation into the Trump administration. These headlines provide an excellent opportunity to consider the history of the U.S. government’s surveillance state, which matters for people across the world whose liberties are at stake as government power expands.
The origins of the present-day surveillance state can be traced back to the U.S. government’s military occupation of the Philippines in the late 1890s.