French theorist Michel Foucault saw the writing on the wall. In his 1975 book, "Discipline and Punish: The Birth of the Prison," which drew on the work of the English philosopher Jeremy Bentham, he introduced the social theory of "panopticism" to explain, at least in part, how surveillance functions as a system of power.
Today, we are very much living in a tech panopticon -- one in which our purchasing habits, individual data and even physical movements can be tracked without our knowledge. What does this mean for the future of personal privacy? How has the "war on terror" radically altered the ways we fight crime, and in what ways might the state use the increasingly sophisticated tools at its disposal to abuse its authority?
For Jamie Garcia of the Stop LAPD Spying Coalition, the possibilities are terrifying and limitless. In the latest installment of "Scheer Intelligence," she and host Robert Scheer discuss how local police forces are working hand in hand with Palantir, an organization funded by the CIA. Specifically, they explore how data mining and "predictive policing" pose an existential threat to people of color. Observes Garcia: "It takes us back to post-9/11 in which Congress wanted to set up a way to make domestic law enforcement the eyes and ears of the federal government."
Not even the country's most liberal states are immune to these kinds of civil rights violations. Take California, where Garcia notes the LAPD has ignored the will of the people at every turn to implement a controversial new drone program. "When you have your own city council not listening to the wishes of the community," she laments, "you realize that there is no community control of these [initiatives]."
Despite this, Garcia refuses to abandon hope. "We [have to] talk about how the police is functioning," she concludes. "We just assume, like a public utility, that they're doing their job. That they're providing us ... safety. And I think that will open our eyes to how harmful policing is in our lives."