Are you checking in to Standing Rock today?

Standing Rock #NoDAPL

Surveillance Culture around Standing Rock #NoDAPL

There are a lot of people today checking in on Facebook to suggest they are in Standing Rock, to stand in solidarity with the #noDAPL Dakota Access Pipeline protest. With the checkin, the user usually adds something to the effect of:

The Morton County Sheriff’s Department has been using Facebook check-ins to find out who is at Standing Rock in order to target them…

A few things of interest to these checkins.

    1. There is no evidence I’ve seen as of writing this, that the Morton County Sheriff’s Department is doing this. I’m not saying they are not, but it’s always intelligent to verify a source other than blindly following the lead of others on the internet. As of writing this, Snopes says it’s unproven.
    2. If it indeed is proven, and you check in here in solidarity, you are doing a disservice to reply to friends who ask “Are you really there?” and you reply, “No, just in solidarity virtually” — as the people scraping the checkins will also be able to scrape your comments to realize you’re not actually there.
    3. If this is unproven, what could such a hoax provide? As we head into the election in the U.S, it doesn’t matter which of the final two candidates wins, they surely both will not only support, but exacerbate the surveillance culture that exists in the U.S. What does this mean? Well, anyone who “stands in solidarity” is clearly identifying themselves politically, and that will surely remain noticed and logged forever.

This post is not intended to suggest you hide your political views, but it’s worth considering what efforts you make in knowing what could happen in 5-25 years down the road, simply by you checking in — in solidarity. Right now, there are Canadians being denied entry into the U.S. even though they’ve never been found guilty of a crime.

If we want to stand in solidarity with a more long-term productive outcome, it should likely be in reform of the surveillance culture itself that we’re endorsing by being silent. Are you OK with your government or law enforcement logging all of your Facebook activity, forever? What about your web surfing? Emails? Phone calls? Microphone and camera in your smart phone? If you’re not aware of the current laws in terms of how your usage of these can be monitored and logged forever, this is a great opportunity to get the facts.