I don't remember a huge amount about this book and haven't been able to find it even after resorting to just reading long lists of sci-fi books.
The government uses a sort of "soft" mind-control via chips implanted in the brain that cause pain when individuals have violent or otherwise "undesirable" thoughts.
I remember a specific scene
in which government agents are watching, via security camera, the protagonist struggle to obtain a tool (hammer or spanner maybe) from some sort of museum display case. He collapses over the display and the agents think he has given up from the pain. Really he takes the tool, replaces it with a look-alike, and walks away.
In another scene,
the protagonist is running from the government through suburban streets and receives help from neighbors (in minor forms [that I don't recall very well], lest the helpers feel pain at helping such a deviant).
I read the book at least 10-15 years ago, probably mid 2000s. I don't remember the cover except that I think it had a lot of black on it (not very helpful, I know).
Any help is much appreciated. Thank you!