In the coming days and weeks we are likely to see pundits and lawmakers call for things like passing a new domestic terrorism law, expanding mass surveillance programs, increasing funding for the FBI and law enforcement, installing backdoors in encrypted messaging apps, and arming police with more technology like facial recognition and social media monitoring software. We’re also likely to see renewed attempts by the government to curtail freedom of expression, including misguided attacks on Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act.
This is the exact opposite of what we need to be doing. Expanding the U.S. government’s already bloated surveillance state will only bring more terror and harm to the same communities that Trump targeted with his racist policies and rhetoric. More money, weapons, and technology in the hands of the Department of Homeland Security—an agency complicit in human rights abuses long before Trump took office—won’t stop the rising threat of right-wing violence. Instead it will be used to suppress legitimate dissent, and disproportionately target Black and brown activists, Muslims, immigrant communities, and social movements that effectively challenge systemic injustice and corporate power.