Whether it’s Donald Trump’s crackdown on immigrants or French police forcing a Muslim woman to remove her burqa, we live in a time when governments openly terrrorise citizens. Underpinning the violence: the “security state” – a cosy enclave where we can be beaten, searched, and have our privacy violated by government forces so that they can “keep us safe”. Technologically, the security state relies on two things – brute force and communications monitoring. Because, before they can beat, search, or violate you, they have to find you. In South Africa, both of these components are alive and well. The brute force was blatantly displayed by POP police and soldiers outside Parliament to beef up security for the State of the Nation Address. The surveillance tech, however, is an invisible weapon, primarily lurking in that place where we really live nowadays: cyberspace. And, while the soldiers had the eyes of the world on them, we as citizens have no way to effectively watch over government’s use of all-seeing cyberspying technologies. By HEIDI SWART.