Governance of countries, throughout history, has always depended on monitoring and tracking its citizens. Common people in their effort to protect 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 stats. Add to that another powerful entity, the corporations, who in their quest for holy profit have tried to read customer behavior to ensure their profit targets are met. History shows businesses and governing powers have often worked on common agenda. Increasingly bypassing laws designed to protect folks from unreasonable interference within their life.
The line between governments and corporations is fading away. This is simply not a prediction but a fact which is happening worldwide. The govporation use and deploy whatever it can to keep the status quo despite the increasing gap between the common people and the few who own almost anything. Despite all the negativity we all see, hear and read, there are always people within governments and corporations who do not trust certain actions or policies. Hopefully that they can bring differ from the inside by doing whatever they are able to to steer the ship to an improved destiny. One cannot indicate a complete government or corporation and say everyone in it is out to dictate life to the others to serve holy profit.
Now the world has developed into global digital community in which a large percentage of people and devices are linked to this entity called the web. One of the ways the Internet enriches our lives is that people can reach anyone on this net wherever they are. But, do not forget that if you can reach anyone easily, others can reach you equally easily and dig into your 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 web, or the web to be short, reaches into modern devices in a single way or the other. It’s in your house, office, outside “watching” you or even on your body as a wearable. More worrisome is the rise of intelligent mobile technology that’s 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. Shop 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 power to monitor your lives in-depth will undoubtedly be justified through certain, man-made, events and technical developments. The threat isn’t just 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 give up 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 may be the price one has to pay to maintain freedom. You don’t want to live in an Orwellian world where “your government” watches your every move! Boundaries of your privacy ought to be guarded zealously.
Assuming by default that everyone is a threat and therefor justifying total surveillance and control of people is not the ideal solution. It opens a giant 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 will not exist, it is only a matter of the right time and the incorrect hands to turn it right 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 just about any specific reason. The reason could be good or bad, the technique itself is flawed and will cause a lot of people to land in databases where they don’t belong. The part of gathering data from as many sources as possible and automatically utilize it to categorize people is requesting problems. Now that humongous amounts of data could be easily analyzed and computer technology provides the tools to manage this “big data” you will see increasing pressure to mix 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 available today, it will be simple to collect, merge and manage the info 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 would be to help determine the identity of individuals in an authentic manner, particularly when multiple sets of data are used. For instance, 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 an individual to enter the country. Sadly enough the utilization of biometric data is currently also applied on the streets and by alternative party organizations for different uses. Think about identifying someone 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 can be remotely identified by face recognition camera’s without reason. Many experts have accused biometric data of raising a lot of false positives. You can obtain automatically identified as an unhealthy person grounding your travel plans or worse. Remember, countries, corporations and others are linking progressively 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
Consider the recent spate of news concerning 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 about the widespread mass surveillance. Not only 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 Internet have made these activities possible. That some well-known whistle-blowers could access the data 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 in other countries does exactly the same. Where possible they cooperate with others or go at it alone. Lots of their operations are not reported to their own governments or only limited by a few people that 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 continues on for the normal 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 level of secret agencies it goes beyond the known horizon. Everyone is 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 way to the general public to use encryption software to secure data instead of leaving it in the clear. This applies to 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 plenty of companies to start implementing some type of encryption and privacy rules. That is encouraging but not enough, especially the dominating corporations will always find a way to breach that trust while at exactly 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 additionally government agencies are, with or minus the understanding of manufacturers, rigging products to spy on the end-user. That they gather plenty 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 guarantee as other events show how shady agencies influence companies to weaken their product security to allow them quick access. Open-source hardware and software is advancing because of 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 will mean people can still get data from A through X to B. Even though such progress is unwanted it cannot be stopped without destroying the internet as it is and turning the planet into one big surveillance state. Crime in all its forms and shapes will always 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 could benefit only the few who’ve a different agenda and need to spread fear to 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 is being spread through “bought” press outlets. Increase that infiltration of organizations along with other entities and we have been 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 think about even though they get reported. Some media outlets spread disinformation on command, another example of the govporation complex. The question is what is accomplished beside making 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 live in or do we have to make changes.
More Secret Courts
Here we take including 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 federal government only. You will find a review process to appeal decisions of the FISA court but these are few and far between. Not one case has gone in interest the Supreme court. It is the court that issues warrants for (mass)surveillance including phone taps on individuals. The extent of the warrants reached 1800 in 2013 alone. The state story is to stop terrorism and protect people which alone is logical. The main point is that there is no more 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 the authorizations. The authorizations often allow massive levels of data to be supplied to the NSA along with other agencies by telecom operators. In its rulings the court often takes on 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 indicate others which are not. Many of the developed countries, particularly the ones growing in to the “developed” club, certainly have such secret courts. The troublesome part, beside legality, may be the use of such data for more control and economic espionage on everyone. The old mission to safeguard and serve the people seems to be 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 dominate part of that job. As more and more people get “connected”, like on the web, their activities become noticeable to those who want to monitor and track them. How or on what basis any entity is dubbed a “potential threat” is usually a subjective thing. Unless these decision makers have strict checks and balances, there will be higher potential for 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. Right now everyone who critically followed worldwide developments can predict that a “threat” could be based on economic motivation or simply asking the “wrong” questions, even while a journalist.
Weaponized Urban Drones
Amazon has announced that it’ll be delivering products bought by its customers through drones. That may or may not become reality, nonetheless it clearly demonstrates that commercial behemoth thinks it 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 various governmental agencies already are increasing the urban usage of flying drones for surveillance and monitoring purposes. Beside that it plays a part in mass-surveillance, a worrying development is arming drones with lethal and non-lethal weapons for use against civilians. They are not the type of heavily armed drones used in military operations but rather the compact type with more 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 many companies already offering armed drones for crowd control with pepper-spray, rubber bullets, blinding lasers, ear-piercing audio etc. A drone equipped with high-definition cameras along with other light spectrum modes can quickly identify targets in real-time connected to some mainframe. Several experts conclude there’s a growing trend of militarizing police forces and extending their capability with drones. Your day may not be far off 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 speeding up certain unpopular agendas. Not saying that change is always bad, but we focus here on the effect it is wearing liberties and how some powerful groups reap the benefits of it. After every 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 just to get a false sense of security. That sort of flawed logic has helped increase the monitoring, tracking, limiting freedom of citizens and increasing the power of the govporation for its own agenda. What we should be doing is discover the root cause of why a conflict or event happened to begin with and learn from it rather than just fighting the outward symptoms as usual. If you still think in the end what has happened so far 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 is too late. Perhaps it is too late.
The Rise Of Crypto Currencies
Several crypto currencies attended into existence over the last few years. Bitcoin is the most well-known of these 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 market capitalization is a superb indicator of this though it is a bumpy ride with all the speculators involved. The Bitcoin market cap happens to be around $4.3 billion, Ripple as a second is at $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 work with these crypto currencies that aren’t controlled by any government or entity. It really is another example of how people push back by starting to develop and offer alternatives to a system which will not serve them anymore.
Cash Limits & Debt Increasing
Most developed countries, governments, float nowadays on credit while a growing amount of citizens tell you their credit limits and begin to live to pay the rotating credit repayments. The larger this burden, the lesser is the freedom of the person to essentially follow his free will. The primary concern of the person involved will be to adhere to the current job, not rock the boat at all and feel the daily grind to guarantee the debt repayments happen. One very effective method of control is to have greater burdens on everybody’s shoulders. To help keep that control it is vital for those in power to restrict means of trading which cannot be easily monitored, taxed and controlled. God forbid people to actually miss the middleman and deal directly with each other and change the system 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 worldwide. At least 20 of the fit the category war. By 2015 the rise of conflict areas in per year is worrying since elements of such are starting to discover a way into the daily life of many people in stable communities. That in itself can be bad or good if it awakens people to reality and see why these things happen, the story in it and not just an indicator out of the blue. The following is a limited list, in no particular order, of major ongoing conflicts which will keep 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 very 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 US mostly, and the Taliban.
– Bitcoin Revolution Site 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, struggling with the war against IS, assisted by a global coalition consisting of the US, 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 have problems arising out of fighting between your rebel Al-Shabaab group and the federal government forces. Part of it is spilling to surrounding countries.
– South Sudan, created as a fresh country this year 2010 2010. There are two wars going on. Fight between the ex-vice president’s and the president’s forces is probably 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 almost all 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 have always been 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 may be thinking, yet another flavor and color.
Corporate Influence online & ICANN
There are major developments in the digital world that indicate the increasing dominance of major corporations on the internet. 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 it is very important understand what ICANN is, extracted from the ICANN website a brief introduction:
” To reach another person on the net you have to type an address into your computer – a name or perhaps a number. That address must be unique so computers know how to locate each other. ICANN coordinates these unique identifiers across the world. Without that coordination we wouldn’t have one global Internet. ICANN was formed in 1998. It is a not-for-profit partnership of individuals from worldwide 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 Internet. It cannot stop spam and 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 impact on the expansion and evolution of the web. “
Now with the push for ICANN to eliminate itself from governmental oversight to a more corporate setting it is a lot more worrying for the future of the internet since it exists now. Of-course it really is currently choosing between the lesser of evils until hopefully a better solution is found. We have seen what happens once the so called “free market” gets control, often people will not benefit from this but again those that are able it in wealth and power will applaud it. It really is too much for this article to discuss the limits of “free market” by those who control it but rest assured we will do so in a new article. Giant corporations like Facebook, Google, Amazon and others intend to provide internet services to poor regions in the world where there’s none or hard to get online. Of-course it is not just because it creates their heart warm but they wish to also decide what folks pay, see, do and get on “their” version of the internet. Exactly 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 pressure from the corporate lobby. So you may want to have a look at how that is arranged in your country if.