Governance of countries, throughout history, has always depended on monitoring and tracking its citizens. Common people in their effort to safeguard their privacy have tried to create a boundary to what could be monitored and snooped. This boundary has kept shifting; particularly advancements in technology have always made it possible to reach further into the lives of common people and their personal details. Add to that another powerful entity, the corporations, who within their quest for holy profit have tried to read customer behavior to make sure their profit targets are met. History shows businesses and governing powers have often done common agenda. Increasingly bypassing laws designed to protect people from unreasonable interference in their life.
The line between governments and corporations is fading away. This is simply not a prediction but a fact which is happening everywhere. The govporation will use and deploy whatever it could to help keep the status quo despite the increasing gap between your common people and the few who own almost anything. Despite all the negativity we all see, hear and read, you can find always people within governments and corporations who usually do not agree with certain actions or policies. We hope that they can bring differ from the within by doing whatever they can to steer the ship to an improved destiny. One cannot indicate a whole government or corporation and say everyone in it is out to dictate life to the others to serve holy profit.
Now the world has turned into a global digital community where a large percentage of people and devices are connected to this entity called the web. One of the ways the Internet enriches our lives is that we can reach anyone on this net wherever they are. But then, do not forget that when you can reach anyone easily, others can reach you equally easily and dig into your daily life. When it started, it had been a tool for collaboration between researchers and security issues were not on your brain map of developers. Any security mechanisms that people build today are retrofits attempting to cover the gaps. The internet, or the web to be short, reaches into modern devices in one way or another. It’s in your own home, office, outside “watching” you and even on your body as a wearable. More worrisome is the rise of intelligent mobile technology that is potentially high-risk whether you are in the home or outside jogging in the park.
Several social-political trends indicate why those in power and in the monitoring / tracking business will seek to seize additional power and access. Look around you and see what is going on while reading this to understand we are not seeing a loss of threats to people everywhere but an increase. The additional power to monitor your lives in-depth will be justified through certain, man-made, events and technical developments. The threat is not only to privacy anymore but alive and limb. We will check out several current and upcoming developments which impact the personal world of the “commoner”. The pressures to stop personal data will undoubtedly be immense and relentless. An important defense for individuals is awareness and try to set the boundary which governments, corporate bodies or other people must respect by real laws. Suitable laws should be enacted, you will need to be familiar with new developments and their consequences. As somebody once said; eternal vigil is the price one has to cover to maintain freedom. You do not want to live in an Orwellian world where “your government” watches your every move! Boundaries of one’s privacy have to be guarded zealously.
Assuming by default that many people are a threat and therefor justifying total surveillance and control of individuals is not the way to go. It opens a huge can of worms that is a guaranteed ticket to a society we usually do not want. One reason is human nature as demonstrated countless times by history, not talking about the good kind. Another reason is that governments come and go just like the world keeps changing. When, not if, we enter another dark period in human history it will be an electronic disaster as all of the data gathered is now offered by the hands of evil. Innocent data will not exist, it is just a matter of the right time and the wrong hands to turn it into a weapon.
Automated Multi Source Profiling
Automated multi source profiling is currently part of daily life whether you prefer it or not. Such profiling can be used to narrow down targets that require to be watched for just about any specific reason. The reason could be good or bad, the technique itself is flawed and will cause a lot of visitors to land in databases where they do not belong. The section of gathering data from as much sources as you possibly can and automatically use it to categorize people is requesting problems. Now that Bitcoin Revolution of data could be easily analyzed and computer technology supplies the tools to manage this “big data” you will see increasing pressure to combine databases from many sources. Data gathered from government branches, commercial parties to non-profit organizations providing another little bit of the puzzle about your life. With the technologies on the market, it will be simple to collect, merge and manage the data about an individual. That is collected without reason, innocent or not, for profit or just because it is possible.
Biometric Data Sharing
The utilization of biometric data is to help determine the identity of individuals in an authentic manner, particularly when multiple sets of data are employed. For example, the passport documents of several countries now routinely include the fingerprint information but iris scan data and face recognition data are making an introduction too. Today the Canadian government uses the US biometric database as well as what they need to determine the desirability of a person to enter the united states. Sadly enough the utilization of biometric data is currently also applied on the streets and by third party organizations for different uses. Think of identifying some one at specific places within the united states and saving that information for later use. This will not target international travelers anymore, but everyone within borders could be remotely identified by face recognition camera’s without reason. Many experts have accused biometric data of raising a large percentage of false positives. You can obtain automatically identified as an undesirable person grounding your travel plans or worse. Remember, countries, corporations and others are linking a lot more of their databases to create a giant worldwide database where a lot of folks have access. Some with not so good intentions.
Everyone, Everywhere, Anytime
Think about the recent spate of news about the NSA snooping. Although for some people this was not a surprise, for other people who always called worried citizens tinfoil crazies, it really is embarrassing by all of the revelations concerning the widespread mass surveillance. Not merely have they been monitoring domestic citizens, they are cited for snooping on people and political parties in other countries. No doubt, the extensive option of internet technologies and the reach of the Internet have made these activities possible. That some well-known whistle-blowers could access the data acquired by NSA, is a testimony that even intelligence agencies have difficulties protecting their operations and data contrary to the human factor. It’s of-course not only the NSA, basically any similar agency far away does the same. Where possible they cooperate with others or go at it alone. A lot of their operations aren’t reported to their own governments or only limited by a few people who are not allowed to say much. One of the reasons is that public figures can keep claiming there is nothing to be worried about and life goes on for the common man. Also traditional intelligence gathering shifted to economic intelligence to help the own economy. In commercial terms it’s called business intelligence however when it comes to the amount of secret agencies it goes beyond the known horizon. Everyone is a target, just by reading this article you are probably already being monitored and categorized in some database. Sorry to break it for you.
Hardware Bigger Target
There is a trend which is slowly finding its way to the general public to utilize encryption software to secure data rather than leaving it in the clear. This goes for exchanging data but additionally storing data on a local computer ranging from tablets, phones, desktops to servers. The awakening of everyone is now also forcing a great deal of companies to start implementing some kind of encryption and privacy rules. That is encouraging however, not enough, especially the dominating corporations will always find a way to breach that trust while at the same time enjoy protection from their friends in governments. Recent, leaked, information shows that hardware may be the new priority target to intercept data. Not only criminals but additionally government agencies are, with or minus the knowledge of manufacturers, rigging products to spy on the end-user. They gather a huge amount of information which has nothing to do with a legitimate target they are after is ignored. Everything is stored for future use. Now with the web of Things, IoT, it really is more important than ever before to implement proper security. Still it isn’t a warranty as other events show how shady agencies influence companies to weaken their product security to permit them easy access. Open-source hardware and software is advancing thanks to the cooperation of worldwide communities of people and is an option to “blackboxes”. Combined with more decentralizing of encrypted data flows mixed through Tor-like networks it’ll mean people can still get data from the through X to B. Even if such progress is unwanted it can’t be stopped without destroying the web as it is and turning the world into one big surveillance state. Crime in all its forms and shapes will be part of humanity to deal with, so using this as a reason to sacrifice freedom, progress and alternatives is really a no go. Perhaps it could benefit only the few who have a different agenda and need to spread fear to help keep people in line serving them.
Increase of Cyber Strikes, Disinformation & Infiltration
It appears to be getting normal to attack first and investigate later as that’s “always” the best defense against those pesky enemies of the state; pre-emptive cyber strikes against other countries are increasing while disinformation is being spread through “bought” press outlets. Add to that infiltration of organizations and other entities and we have been another step nearer to perfect Orwellian societies. Cyber strikes are not as noticeable to the mass so they do not seem to be important enough to question or think about even though they get reported. Some media outlets spread disinformation on command, another exemplory case of the govporation complex. The question is what is accomplished beside making a potential situation worse by pre-emptive strikes, corrupting press for hidden agendas and spreading distrust in society by more infiltrations? By knowing the why and who society can determine if this can be a world we want to reside in or do we need to make changes.
More Secret Courts
Here we take as an example the U.S secret courts but this is by no means the only real country using such setups for specific operations. The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act or the FISA of 1978 allows a secret court to be setup. It is considered to be almost a parallel supreme court today. Here the cases are completely one sided and so are argued by the government only. You will find a review process to appeal decisions of the FISA court but they are few and far between. Not just one case has gone in appeal to the Supreme court. This is the court that issues warrants for (mass)surveillance including phone taps on individuals. The extent of these warrants reached 1800 in 2013 alone. The state story is to stop terrorism and protect people which in itself is logical. The point is that there is no more accountability for the people in this technique. These warrants are bound to improve and specific judges of FISA are likely to be amenable to issuing more of the authorizations. The authorizations often allow massive levels of data to be supplied to the NSA and other agencies by telecom operators. In its rulings the court often assumes questions about constitutional validity and delivers interpretations which never undergo any public scrutiny. That is happening especially in the countries which always boast about their democracy and indicate others which are not. Many of the developed countries, specially the ones growing into the “developed” club, certainly have such secret courts. The troublesome part, beside legality, may be the usage of such data for more control and economic espionage on everyone. The old mission to safeguard and serve the people is apparently getting less important with each passing year.
More Threat Branding
It is no secret that many entities come beneath the scanner of government agencies and even companies trying to take over part of that job. As more and more people get “connected”, like on the Internet, their activities become visible to those who wish to monitor and track them. How or on which basis any entity is dubbed a “potential threat” is usually a subjective thing. Unless these decision makers have strict checks and balances, you will have higher prospect of getting dubbed a potentially disruptive influence by someone. Now with all the current newest technologies you can easily get tagged as a threat but extremely difficult to fight against it and even know such entry exists in some database. The broader powers the govporation complex gets the more entities will be branded as a potential threat. By now everyone who critically followed worldwide developments can predict a “threat” could be predicated on economic motivation or perhaps asking the “wrong” questions, even while a journalist.
Weaponized Urban Drones
Amazon has announced that it will be delivering products bought by its customers through drones. That may or may not become reality, but it clearly demonstrates that commercial behemoth thinks it really is feasible. Drones that have capacity to reach the desired addresses are feasible today. However, authorities in different countries need to finalize regulations governing flying drones in urban airspace before commercial projects could launch. It is easy to realize that the many governmental agencies are already increasing the urban use of flying drones for surveillance and monitoring purposes. Beside that it contributes to mass-surveillance, a worrying development is arming drones with lethal and non-lethal weapons for use against civilians. These are not the kind of heavily armed drones found in military operations but rather the compact type with more features fitting an urban setting. Perhaps an initial step to robocops of the future with the authority of a genuine cop. As of this writing there are many companies already offering armed drones for crowd control with pepper-spray, rubber bullets, blinding lasers, ear-piercing audio and so on. A drone built with high-definition cameras along with other light spectrum modes can easily identify targets in real-time linked to some mainframe. Several experts conclude there’s an increasing trend of militarizing police forces and extending their capability with drones. The day may not be remote when police drones can launch missiles along with other projectiles on a crowd in its mission area, in your backyard rather than in a a long way away country.
World Events Impact Liberties
Today’s world is quickly changing with each negative event speeding up certain unpopular agendas. Not to say that change is always bad, but we focus here on the result it is wearing liberties and how some powerful groups reap the benefits of it. After each major event like 9/11, wars in countries like Afghanistan, Iraq, regional bloody revolutions with or without foreign influence, we do exactly what we should not do; sacrifice liberties we fought so difficult for in the past merely to get a false sense of security. That type of flawed logic has helped increase the monitoring, tracking, limiting freedom of citizens and increasing the power of the govporation for its own agenda. Might know about be doing is find the root cause of why a conflict or event happened to begin with and learn from it instead of just fighting the outward symptoms as usual. If you still think after all what has happened up to now and leaked to the general public there’s still no reason going to the alarm button then nothing else will change your view until it is too late. Perhaps it is too late.
The Rise Of Crypto Currencies
Several crypto currencies attended into existence during the last few years. Bitcoin is the most well-known of the while there have been 275 crypto currencies around as of 2014. One clear trend you can actually notice is their popularity is steadily increasing. The marketplace capitalization is an effective indicator of this although it is a bumpy ride with the speculators involved. The Bitcoin market cap is currently around $4.3 billion, Ripple as a second reaches $774 million and Litecoin as a third at $96 million. With economic and political issues affecting various countries on earth, more people begin to hedge their bets on the national currencies and use these crypto currencies that aren’t controlled by any government or entity. It is another exemplory case of how people push back by starting to develop and provide alternatives to something which will not serve them anymore.
Cash Limits & Debt Increasing
Most developed countries, governments, float nowadays on credit while a growing amount of citizens run through their credit limits and start to live to cover the rotating credit repayments. The bigger this burden, the lesser may be the freedom of the person to essentially follow his free will. The principal concern of the person involved will be to stick to the current job, not rock the boat at all and feel the daily grind to ensure the debt repayments happen. One very effective method of control is to have greater burdens on everybody’s shoulders. To keep that control it is vital for those in capacity to restrict ways of trading which can’t be easily monitored, taxed and controlled. God forbid people to actually miss the middleman and deal directly with each other and change the machine from within.
Worldwide Increase of Conflicts
By the finish of year 2013, The Heidelberg Institute for International Conflict Research (HIIK) reported the existence of some 400 conflicts around the world. At least 20 of the fit the category war. By 2015 the rise of conflict areas in per year is worrying since components of such are starting to find a way into the daily life of many people in stable communities. That in itself could be bad or good if it awakens people to reality and see why these exact things happen, the story in it and not just a symptom out of the blue. The next is a limited list, in no particular order, of major ongoing conflicts which keeps growing:
– Democratic Republic of Congo, where the army of the ruling government is fighting with the M23 rebel group and religious tensions are flaring up between Christians and Muslims.
– Mali, where Islamist rebels are actively wanting to take over the country fighting against mostly French forces who intervened.
– The war between Ukraine, backed by the US/EU, against rebels in the east of Ukraine where they declared their own Republic states backed by Russia.
– Nigeria, where terror group Boko Haram within their attempt to introduce Sharia law, keeps attacking moderate Muslims and Christians.
– Sudan, where groups of mixed ethnic origin are fighting with government forces and one another.
– The long bloody conflict between Israel and Palestine without real solution in sight.
– Afghanistan, remains a war zone of fighting between government forces, assisted by the united states mostly, and the Taliban.
– Unstable Pakistani border with Afghanistan and increasing drone strikes on extremist groups.
– Mexico, remains the hotbed of drug-wars, human trafficking, blackmail and smuggling by the drug cartels.
– Syria, the civil war continues to rage on with the terror group IS taking over a considerable part including a piece of Iraq.
– Iraq, struggling with the war against IS, assisted by an international coalition consisting of the united states, Arab countries, Iran and the EU. Religious violence between Sunnis and Shiites is also increasing.
– The Philippines where Moro people continue their struggle for independence.
– Somalia continues to possess problems arising out of fighting between your rebel Al-Shabaab group and the government forces. Part of it is spilling over to surrounding countries.
– South Sudan, created as a fresh country in 2010 2010 2010. There are two wars going on. Fight between your ex-vice president’s and the president’s forces is one of the conflicts. While the presidential force is also engaged in supporting autonomy struggles of two provinces in neighboring Sudan.
– North Korea and South Korea, occasional skirmishes and technically still in war.
– Yemen, rebel groups fighting against the central government blended with terror groups utilizing the country as their base of operations.
Although a lot of the above conflict areas have a long violent history it is expected to see new conflict in regions or countries where conflict isn’t directly expected. Economic disparities will always be reasons for flare-ups throughout history. Given that the BRICS countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) break into the “developed” countries club one must anticipate serious friction over market, influence, resources and territory. Internal conflicts, within countries, sometimes differ but often it involves a combination of one or more of the following causes: poor economy, corruption, police state, religious tensions, foreign influence, oppression, unpopular politics, extreme difference poor vs rich, racial inequality. The same old story for humanity as you may be thinking, yet another flavor and color.
Corporate Influence on the web & ICANN
There are major developments in the digital world that indicate the increasing dominance of major corporations on the internet. They are closely dealing with multiple governments on policies, shared projects and sharing data. Most willingly cooperate despite knowing that some of what they are doing is illegal or at the very least very unethical. But holy profit, power and status is something shared by both parties giving it the name “the govporation”. Before we continue you should understand what ICANN is, taken from the ICANN website a short introduction:
” To reach another person online you should type an address into your personal computer – a name or a number. That address must be unique so computers know how to locate one another. ICANN coordinates these unique identifiers around the world. Without that coordination we wouldn’t have one global Internet. ICANN was formed in 1998. This is a not-for-profit partnership of people from around the globe dedicated to keeping the Internet secure, stable and interoperable. It promotes competition and develops policy on the Internet’s unique identifiers. ICANN doesn’t control content on the web. It cannot stop spam also it doesn’t deal with usage of the Internet. But through its coordination role of the Internet’s naming system, it can have an important impact on the expansion and evolution of the web. “
Now with the push for ICANN to eliminate itself from governmental oversight to a far more corporate setting it is a lot more worrying for the future of the internet since it exists now. Of-course it is currently choosing between the lesser of evils until hopefully an improved solution is found. We have seen what happens when the so called “free market” gets control, often people will not reap the benefits of this but again those that are able it in wealth and power will applaud it. It really is too much for this article to go over the limits of “free market” by those that control it but rest assured we will achieve this in a new article. Giant corporations like Facebook, Google, Amazon among others intend to provide internet services to poor regions on the planet where there is none or hard to get online. Of-course it is not just because it makes their heart warm however they wish to also decide what people pay, see, do and obtain on “their” version of the internet. Just like what the lobby of corporate groups wants for the internet as it is now. That is also why some countries went ahead to repair net neutrality by law, although some implemented a weak version of it under great pressure from the corporate lobby. So you might want to take a look at how that is arranged in your country if.