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Friday, November 8, 2019

A Culture Of Spying And Snitching

     If we enroll in the public schools, we are spied on by other students, our teachers, and our counselors. Many schools provide anonymous telephone tip lines for students to squeal on their classmates...Teachers and counselors are encouraged to report students with "anti-social tendencies" to the police. Reports of typical juvenile schoolyard behavior now results in suspensions, expulsions, and arrests.

     College campuses are riddled with informants. Politically active teachers are monitored by students who oppose their views. Student political organizations are infiltrated by undercover operatives gathering information on controversial campus speakers and upcoming demonstrations...

     Informants track us after we graduate and enter the workplace. Many potential employers run background checks on job applicants, asking friends and neighbors about their private lives. Some bosses hire undercover agents to pose as workers and spy on everyone in the company, reporting on everything from suspected thieves to employees with poor morale. [Today, potential employers and government agencies monitor social media to gain information on people.] If we own a business, the government might send over fake customers to see if they can trick us into breaking civil rights laws...

     Our neighbors are encouraged to spy on us. If our children cry, they report us to social workers for abuse. If we have a large number of visitors, they call the police and accuse us of dealing drugs. If we drive a new car, they call the Internal Revenue Service and say we're not paying our taxes.

Jim Redden, Snitch Culture, 2000

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