Governance of countries, throughout history, has always depended on monitoring and tracking its citizens. Common people within their effort to protect their privacy have tried to create a boundary to what could possibly be monitored and snooped. This boundary has kept shifting; particularly advancements in technology have always managed to get possible to reach further in to the lives of common people and their personal details. Increase that another powerful entity, the corporations, who within their pursuit of holy profit have tried to learn customer behavior to ensure their profit targets are met. History shows businesses and governing powers have often done common agenda. Increasingly bypassing laws intended to protect people from unreasonable interference within their life.
The line between governments and corporations is fading away. This is not a prediction but an undeniable fact which is happening around the globe. The govporation use and deploy whatever it could to help keep the status quo despite the increasing gap between the common people and the few who own almost anything. Despite all the negativity most of us see, hear and read, you can find always people within governments and corporations who do not agree with certain actions or policies. We hope that they can bring differ from the inside by doing whatever they can to steer the ship to an improved destiny. One cannot point to a whole government or corporation and say everyone inside it is out to dictate life to the rest to serve holy profit.
Now the world has turned into a global digital community where a large percentage of people and devices are linked to this entity called the web. One of the ways the web enriches our lives is that we can reach anyone on this net wherever they are. But, do not forget that when you can reach anyone easily, others can reach you equally easily and dig into your life. When it started, it had been an instrument for collaboration between researchers and security issues were not on your brain map of developers. Any security mechanisms that we build today are retrofits attempting to cover the gaps. The internet, or the web to be short, reaches into most modern devices in a single way or another. It’s in your own home, office, outside “watching” you as well as on your own body as a wearable. More worrisome may be 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 grab additional power and access. Look around you and see what is going on while reading this to comprehend we are not seeing a loss of threats to people everywhere but a rise. The additional capacity to monitor your lives in-depth will be justified through certain, man-made, events and technical developments. The threat isn’t just to privacy anymore but alive and limb. We will take a look at several current and upcoming developments which impact the personal world of the “commoner”. The pressures to give up personal data will be immense and relentless. An important defense for individuals is awareness and make an effort to set the boundary which governments, corporate bodies or other people must respect by real laws. Suitable laws will have to be enacted, you will have to be familiar with new developments and their consequences. As somebody once said; eternal vigil may be the price one has to pay 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 should be guarded zealously.
Assuming by default that many people are a threat and therefor justifying total surveillance and control of people is not the ideal solution. It opens a huge can of worms which is a guaranteed ticket to a society we do not want. One reason is human nature as demonstrated countless times by history, not discussing the nice 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 a digital disaster as all the data gathered is now offered by the hands of evil. Innocent data does not exist, it is just a matter of the right time and the incorrect hands to turn it into a weapon.
Automated Multi Source Profiling
Automated multi source profiling is currently part of lifestyle whether you prefer it or not. Such profiling is used to narrow down targets that need to be watched for any specific reason. The reason could be good or bad, the technique itself is flawed and can cause a lot of people to land in databases where they don’t belong. The part of gathering data from as much sources as you possibly can and automatically utilize it to categorize people is asking for problems. Now that humongous levels of data could be easily analyzed and computer technology provides the tools to manage this “big data” there will be increasing pressure to combine databases from many sources. Data gathered from government branches, commercial parties to non-profit organizations providing another piece of the puzzle about your daily life. With the technologies on the market, it will be easy to collect, merge and manage the data about an individual. That is collected without reason, innocent or not, for profit or simply because it is possible.
Biometric Data Sharing
The application of biometric data is to help determine the identity of individuals in an authentic manner, particularly when multiple sets of data are used. For example, the passport documents of many 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 united states biometric database along with what they need to determine the desirability of a person to enter the country. Sadly enough the utilization of biometric data is currently also applied on the streets and by third party organizations for different uses. Think about identifying some one at specific places within the country and saving that information for later use. This does 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 aquire 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 people 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 just a surprise, for others who always called worried citizens tinfoil crazies, it is embarrassing by all 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 availability of internet technologies and the reach of the web have made these activities possible. That some well-known whistle-blowers could access the info acquired by NSA, is really a testimony that even intelligence agencies have difficulties protecting their operations and data contrary to the human factor. It’s of-course not merely the NSA, basically any similar agency far away does exactly the same. Where possible they cooperate with others or go at it alone. Many their operations are not reported with their own governments or only limited by a few people who are not allowed to state much. One of the reasons is that public figures can keep claiming there is nothing to be worried about and life continues 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 but when it comes to the amount of secret agencies it goes beyond the known horizon. Many people are a target, just by reading this article you’re probably already being monitored and categorized in some database. Sorry to break it to you.
Hardware Bigger Target
There is a trend that is slowly finding its solution to the general public to use encryption software to secure data instead of leaving it in the clear. This goes for exchanging data but also storing data on a local computer which range from tablets, phones, desktops to servers. The awakening of the general public is now also forcing many companies to start implementing some type of encryption and privacy rules. This is encouraging but not enough, especially the dominating corporations will always discover a way to breach that trust while at the same time enjoy protection from their friends in governments. Recent, leaked, information demonstrates hardware is the new priority target to intercept data. Not only criminals but also 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 in connection with a legitimate target they are after is ignored. Everything is stored for future use. Now with the Internet of Things, IoT, it really is more important than ever to implement proper security. Still it is not a warranty as other events show how shady agencies influence companies to weaken their product security to allow 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”. Coupled 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 though such progress is unwanted it can’t be stopped without destroying the internet since it is and turning the planet into one big surveillance state. Crime in every its forms and shapes will be part of humanity to cope with, so using this as a reason to sacrifice freedom, progress and alternatives is really a no go. Perhaps it would benefit only the few who’ve 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 is “always” the best defense against those pesky enemies of hawaii; pre-emptive cyber strikes against other countries are increasing while disinformation has been spread through “bought” news media outlets. Increase that infiltration of organizations along with other entities and we are another step closer to perfect Orwellian societies. Cyber strikes are not as noticeable to the mass so they usually do not appear to be important enough to question or consider even if they get reported. Some media outlets spread disinformation on command, another exemplory case of the govporation complex. The question is what is accomplished beside creating a potential situation worse by pre-emptive strikes, corrupting news media for hidden agendas and spreading distrust in society by more infiltrations? By knowing the why and who society can determine if here is the world we want to reside in or do we have 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 really is considered to be almost a parallel supreme court today. Here the cases are completely one sided and are argued by the federal government only. There exists a review process to appeal decisions of the FISA court but these are few and far between. Not one case has gone in appeal to the Supreme court. This can be the court that issues warrants for (mass)surveillance including phone taps on individuals. The extent of these warrants reached 1800 in 2013 alone. The official story would be to stop terrorism and protect people which in itself is logical. The main point is that there is forget about accountability for individuals in this process. These warrants are bound to improve and specific judges of FISA will tend to be amenable to issuing more of these authorizations. The authorizations often allow massive amounts of data to be supplied to the NSA along with 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. This is happening especially in the countries which always boast about their democracy and point to others which are not. A lot 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 appears to be getting less important with each passing year.
More Threat Branding
It is no secret that lots of entities come under the scanner of government agencies and also companies trying to take over part of that job. As increasing numbers of people get “connected”, like on the net, their activities become visible to those who want to monitor and track them. How or on what basis any entity is dubbed a “potential threat” is often a subjective thing. Unless these decision makers have strict checks and balances, you will see higher prospect of getting dubbed a potentially disruptive influence by someone. Now with all the newest technologies it is easy to get tagged as a threat but almost impossible to fight against it as well as know such entry exists in some database. The broader powers the govporation complex gets the more entities will undoubtedly be branded as a potential threat. By now everyone who critically followed worldwide developments can predict that a “threat” could be predicated on economic motivation or simply 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 could or might not become reality, nonetheless it clearly demonstrates that commercial behemoth thinks it is feasible. Drones that have capability to reach the desired addresses are feasible today. However, authorities in various countries have to finalize regulations governing flying drones in urban airspace before commercial projects could launch. It is easy to realize that the various 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 sort of heavily armed drones used in military operations but rather the compact type with an increase of features fitting an urban setting. Perhaps an initial step to robocops into the future with the authority of a real cop. As of this writing there are various companies already offering armed drones for crowd control with pepper-spray, rubber bullets, blinding lasers, ear-piercing audio and so forth. A drone built with high-definition cameras and other light spectrum modes can quickly identify targets in real-time linked to some mainframe. Bitcoin Era Official conclude there is a growing trend of militarizing police forces and extending their capability with drones. Your day may not be remote when police drones can launch missiles and other projectiles on a crowd in its mission area, in your backyard and not in a far away country.
World Events Impact Liberties
Today’s world is fast changing with each negative event accelerating certain unpopular agendas. Not to say that change is definitely bad, but we focus here on the result it is wearing liberties and how some powerful groups benefit from 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 have to 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 raise the monitoring, tracking, limiting freedom of citizens and increasing the power of the govporation for its own agenda. Might know about be doing is discover the real 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 public there’s still no reason going to the alarm button then nothing else is going to change your view until it really 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 these while there have been 275 crypto currencies in existence by 2014. One clear trend you can actually notice is their popularity is steadily increasing. The marketplace capitalization is a superb indicator of this though it is a bumpy ride with all the current speculators involved. The Bitcoin market cap happens to be 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 the planet, 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 really is another example of how people rebel by starting to develop and provide alternatives to something which does 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 begin to live to pay 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 adhere to the existing job, not rock the boat at all and go through 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 important for those in power to restrict means of trading which can’t be easily monitored, taxed and controlled. God forbid visitors to actually miss the middleman and deal directly with one another and change the system from within.
Worldwide Increase of Conflicts
By the end of year 2013, The Heidelberg Institute for International Conflict Research (HIIK) reported the existence of some 400 conflicts around the globe. At least 20 of these fit the category war. By 2015 the rise of conflict areas in a year is worrying since components of such are starting to discover a way into the daily life of several people in stable communities. That alone can be bad or good if it awakens visitors to reality and see why these exact things happen, the story behind them and not just a symptom out of the blue. The next is really 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 seeking 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 try 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 with no 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 overtaking a considerable part including a piece of Iraq.
– Iraq, fighting the war against IS, assisted by a global 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 the rebel Al-Shabaab group and the government forces. Part of it really is spilling over to surrounding countries.
– South Sudan, created as a fresh country in 2010 2010 2010. You can find two wars going on. Fight between your ex-vice president’s and the president’s forces is among 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 the majority of the above conflict areas have a long violent history it is likely to see new conflict in regions or countries where conflict isn’t directly expected. Economic disparities have always been known reasons for flare-ups throughout history. Now that the BRICS countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) break right 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 variety 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 might be thinking, yet another flavor and color.
Corporate Influence on the net & ICANN
You can find major developments in the digital world that indicate the increasing dominance of major corporations online. They are closely working with multiple governments on policies, shared projects and sharing data. Most willingly cooperate despite realizing that some of what they’re 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 brief introduction:
” To reach another person on the Internet you need to type an address into your computer – a name or a number. That address has to be unique so computers know where to find one another. ICANN coordinates these unique identifiers across the world. Without that coordination we wouldn’t have one global Internet. ICANN was formed in 1998. This can be a not-for-profit partnership of individuals from all over the world dedicated to keeping the web secure, stable and interoperable. It promotes competition and develops policy on the Internet’s unique identifiers. ICANN doesn’t control content on the Internet. It cannot stop spam also it doesn’t deal with access to the Internet. But through its coordination role of the Internet’s naming system, it does have an important effect on the expansion and evolution of the Internet. “
Now with the push for ICANN to eliminate itself from governmental oversight to a more corporate setting it is even more worrying for the future of the internet as it exists now. Of-course it is currently choosing between your lesser of evils until hopefully a better solution is found. We have seen what happens when the so called “free market” takes over, often people will not benefit from this but again those that are able it in wealth and power will applaud it. It is too much because of this article to discuss the limits of “free market” by those who control it but be confident we will do so in a new article. Giant corporations like Facebook, Google, Amazon and others intend to provide internet services to poor regions on earth where there’s 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 web. Exactly like what the lobby of corporate groups wants online as it is now. That is also why some countries went ahead to fix net neutrality by law, even though some implemented a weak version of it under pressure from the corporate lobby. So you may want to take a look at how that is arranged in your country if at all.