This article is a bit old at this point, but the article is still coherent.
Strategically it all points to massive investments into internal security.
Presenting the problem to the population as a mutually exclusive choice between an uncertain dangerous freedom and an assured survival under the securing umbrella of the trustworthy state becomes more easy the further the various crises develop. The more wealthy parts of the population will certainly require protection from illegal immigrants, criminals, terrorists and implicitly also from the anger of less affluent citizens.
“Terrorism” is the theme of the day, others will follow. And these “themes” can and will be used to mold the western societies into something that has never been seen before: a democratically legitimated police state, ruled by an unaccountable elite with total surveillance, made efficient and largely unobtrusive by modern technology. With the enemy (immigrants, terrorists, climate catastrophe refugees, criminals, the poor, mad scientists, strange diseases) at the gates, the price that needs to be paid for “security” will look acceptable.
First principle of 21st century police state: All those who “have nothing to hide” should not be bothered unnecessarily.
With access to all the information outlined above, we will end up with a system of selective enforcement. It is impossible to live in a complex society without violating a rule here and there from time to time, often even without noticing it. If all these violations are documented and available for prosecution, the whole fabric of society changes dramatically.
Thinking about what can be done with the results of one’s work is one thing. Refusing to do the job because it could be to the worse of mankind is something completely different.
We will need to build technology to preserve the freedom of speech, the freedom of thought, the freedom of communication, there is no other long-term solution. Political barriers to total surveillance have a very limited half-life period. … Maintaining the political breathing spaces becomes more important than what this space is used for.
Often there is considerable freedom to design within the limits of our day jobs. We need to use this freedom to build systems in a way that they collect as little data as possible, use encryption and provide anonymity as much as possible. We need to create a culture around that.
We are facing an enemy that is euphemistically called “Global Observer” in research papers. This is meant literally. You can no longer rely on information or communication being “overlooked” or “hidden in the noise”. Everything is on file. Forever. And it can and will be used against you.