The Muslim surveillance-industrial complex

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The Muslim Pro and Muslim Mingle data harvesting revelations are consistent with the realities of American Muslim surveillance since 9/11.

The Muslim Pro and Muslim Mingle data harvesting revelations are consistent with the realities of American Muslim surveillance since 9/11.The ostensible aim of state surveillance is to collect data — ”intelligence gathering” in the parlance of national security — but this objective is complemented by two additional and seemingly contradictory goals. For the architects of surveillance, those who are its targets must understand they are being watched, in order for the desired self-censorship and behaviour modification to take root. Only those who appreciate the possibility of being monitored would, after all, have any reason to avoid voicing dissenting opinions and engaging in political activism, wary of its consequences. On the other hand, they must also not know they are being watched, lest that begins to interfere with the very process of intelligence gathering. American Muslims have long been subject to surveillance and as a result, have become accustomed to these contradictory effects. Jokes abound in casual conversations about one’s personal FBI agent, tapped phones, and who may be a government informant, indicating an understanding that the community is constantly under watch. Yet, …

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