EM and the Surveillance State

Activists to be tracked with GPS?

People often forget that GPS monitoring is also a tracking device, recording location and storing movement data in a cloud somewhere that is unregulated, the contents of which may be sold. One often overlooked aspect of GPS is that it can be applied to political protestors and dissidents, even those who have not been convicted. In Germany last week, after militant protests against the G20 (or G19 as some now call it), several authorities called for tagging “rioters.”

Hans-Georg Maassen, chief of the Office for the Protection of the Constitution, warned that 8,500 left-wing extremists in the country are prone to violence. “We have in Germany a very strong left-wing extremist scene, made up of about 28,000 people, of whom 8,500 are prone to violence,” Maassen said Saturday, according to Neue Osnabrücker Zeitung. The national Interior Minister Minister Thomas de Maiziere called for “electronic surveillance” on this cohort.  Minister of Foreign Affairs Sigmar Gabriel wrote, “The offenders do not differ at all from neo-Nazis and their fire attacks,” in an op-ed in tabloid Bild am Sonntag.

On the US front, six Greenpeace activists who unfurled a banner saying “Resist” and “Defend” on Trump tower in early July were charged with felonies. Four were released on bail with electronic monitoring.

About the author

James Kilgore

James Kilgore is an activist , writer and educator based in Urbana, Illinois. He is a Soros Justice Fellow for 2017-18. His project, Challenging E-Carceration, focuses on electronic monitoring in the criminal legal system.