We are witnessing the rampant criminalization of faith, enabled by the smartphones in our pockets.
In his 1993 book “Technopoly,” American cultural critic Neil Postman wrote, “Every technology is both a burden and a blessing.” The subsequent three decades have proved Postman to be something of a prophet.
While technology has made our lives faster and more efficient, it also has been used to commit crimes and perpetuate unspeakable human rights abuses.
Religious freedom advocates like myself can testify to this fact. Known human rights abusers like China and India are closely tracking citizens’ social media posts and often take legal action against those who share government criticism online. Saudi Arabia has deployed insidious spyware against its dissidents and Kazakhstan is experimenting with mass-surveillance technology as a pathway to censoring religious minorities.
These widespread abuses warrant decisive action from so-called big tech and from democratic governments like ours, but they also should be of concern to anyone with a smartphone. Here are five tech innovations being used to identify, surveil and punish religious minorities worldwide.