Governance of countries, throughout history, has always depended on monitoring and tracking its citizens. Common people within 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 managed to get possible to reach further into 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 designed to protect people 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 around the globe. The govporation use and deploy whatever it could to keep the status quo despite the increasing gap between your common people and the few who own almost everything. Despite all the negativity most of us see, hear and read, there are always people within governments and corporations who do not agree with 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 point to a complete government or corporation and say everyone in it has gone out to dictate life to the rest 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 web enriches our lives is that we can reach anyone with this net wherever they are. But then, do not forget that if you can reach anyone easily, others can reach you equally easily and dig into your daily life. When it started, it was a tool 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 net to be short, reaches into most 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 may be the rise of intelligent mobile technology that’s potentially high-risk whether you’re 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 the proceedings while reading this to comprehend we have been not seeing a decrease of threats to people everywhere but an increase. The additional power to monitor your lives in-depth will undoubtedly be justified through certain, man-made, events and technical developments. The threat is not only to privacy anymore but alive and limb. We will have a look at several current and upcoming developments which impact the non-public world of the “commoner”. The pressures to stop personal data will undoubtedly be immense and relentless. A significant defense for individuals is awareness and make an effort to set the boundary which governments, corporate bodies or anyone else must respect by real laws. Suitable laws should be enacted, you 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 don’t want to reside in an Orwellian world where “big brother” watches your every move! Boundaries of one’s privacy must 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 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 discussing the nice kind. Another reason is that governments come and go similar to the world keeps changing. When, not if, we enter another dark period in history it will be an electronic disaster as all the data gathered is now available at the hands of evil. Innocent data does not exist, it is only a matter of the proper time and the incorrect hands to turn it right into a weapon.
Automated Multi Source Profiling
Automated multi source profiling is currently part of daily life whether you like it or not. Such profiling can be used to narrow down targets that need to be watched for any specific reason. The reason could be good or bad, the method itself is flawed and will cause a lot of people to land in databases where they don’t belong. The section of gathering data from as much sources as possible and automatically use it to categorize people is requesting problems. Now that humongous amounts of data can be easily analyzed and computer technology provides the tools to manage this “big data” there will be increasing pressure to mix databases from many sources. Data gathered from government branches, commercial parties to non-profit organizations providing another little bit of the puzzle about your daily life. With the technologies available today, it will be easy to collect, merge and manage the data about an individual. That all 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 if multiple sets of data are used. For instance, the passport documents of many countries now routinely are 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 besides what they need to determine the desirability of an individual to enter the united states. Sadly enough the use of biometric data is currently also applied on the streets and by alternative 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 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 will get automatically identified as an undesirable person grounding your travel plans or worse. Remember, countries, corporations among others are linking increasingly more of their databases to form a giant worldwide database in which a lot of people have access. Some with not so good intentions.
Everyone, Everywhere, Anytime
Think about the recent spate of news concerning 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 the revelations concerning the widespread mass surveillance. Not only have they been monitoring domestic citizens, they are cited for snooping on people and political parties far away. 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 against 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. Many their operations aren’t reported with their own governments or only limited by a few people that are not allowed to say much. Among the reasons is that public figures can keep claiming you’ll find nothing to worry 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 scanning this article you are probably already being monitored and categorized in a few database. Sorry to break it for you.
Hardware Bigger Target
There is a trend that is slowly finding its solution 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 which range from tablets, phones, desktops to servers. The awakening of the general public 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 the same time enjoy protection from their friends in governments. Recent, leaked, information demonstrates hardware may be the new priority target to intercept data. Not just criminals but additionally government agencies are, with or minus the understanding 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 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 allow them quick access. Open-source hardware and software is advancing because of the cooperation of worldwide communities of people and is an alternative to “blackboxes”. Coupled with more decentralizing of encrypted data flows mixed through Tor-like networks it will mean people can still get data from the through X to B. Even if such progress is unwanted it cannot be stopped without destroying the internet since it is and turning the world 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 grounds to sacrifice freedom, progress and alternatives is really a no go. Perhaps it would benefit only the few who have a different agenda and have 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’s “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 and other entities and we are another step nearer to perfect Orwellian societies. Cyber strikes aren’t as visible to the mass so they do not seem to be important enough to question or think about 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 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 it is the world we want to live 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 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 regarded as almost a parallel supreme court today. Here Bitcoin Era 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 interest the Supreme court. Here 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 would be to stop terrorism and protect people which in itself is logical. The point is that there is no more accountability for individuals in this technique. These warrants are bound to increase 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 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 point to others which are not. Lots of the developed countries, particularly the ones growing in to the “developed” club, certainly have such secret courts. The troublesome part, beside legality, is the use of such data for more control and economic espionage on everyone. The old mission to protect and serve the people appears 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 take over part of that job. As more and more people get “connected”, like online, their activities become visible to those who would like 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, there will be higher prospect of getting dubbed a potentially disruptive influence by someone. Now with all the newest technologies you can easily get tagged as a threat but extremely difficult to fight against it or even know such entry exists in a few 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 based 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, but 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. You can easily realize that the various governmental agencies already are 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 type of heavily armed drones found in military operations but rather the compact type with an increase of 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 forth. A drone equipped 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 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 a long way away country.
World Events Impact Liberties
Today’s world is fast changing with each negative event accelerating certain unpopular agendas. Not saying that change is definitely bad, but we focus here on the result 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 have to not do; sacrifice liberties we fought so hard for in the past just to get yourself a false sense of security. That sort of flawed logic has helped raise the monitoring, tracking, limiting freedom of citizens and increasing the energy of the govporation because of its own agenda. Might know about be doing is discover the real cause of why a conflict or event happened in the first place and learn from it rather than 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 to hit the alarm button then nothing else will change your view until it is too late. Perhaps it really is too late.
The Rise Of Crypto Currencies
Several crypto currencies attended into existence over the last few years. Bitcoin may be the most well-known of these while there have been 275 crypto currencies in existence by 2014. One clear trend it is simple to notice is their popularity is steadily increasing. The market capitalization is an excellent indicator of this though it is a bumpy ride with the speculators involved. The Bitcoin market cap happens to be around $4.3 billion, Ripple as another is at $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 work with these crypto currencies that aren’t controlled by any government or entity. It is another example of how people rebel by starting to develop and provide alternatives to a system which will not serve them anymore.
Cash Limits & Debt Increasing
Most developed countries, governments, float nowadays on credit while an increasing amount of citizens tell you their credit limits and begin to live to cover the rotating credit repayments. The bigger 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 existing job, not rock the boat at all and go through the daily grind to ensure the debt repayments happen. One very effective way of control is to have greater burdens on everybody’s shoulders. To keep that control it is vital for those in capacity to restrict means of trading which can’t be easily monitored, taxed and controlled. God forbid people to actually skip the middleman and deal directly with each other and change the machine 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 across the world. At least 20 of the fit the category war. By 2015 the rise of conflict areas in a year is worrying since elements of such are starting to discover a way into the daily life of several people in stable communities. That alone could be bad or good if it awakens visitors to reality and see why these things happen, the story in it and not just a symptom out of the blue. The following is really 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 own Republic states backed by Russia.
– Nigeria, where terror group Boko Haram in their try to introduce Sharia law, keeps attacking moderate Muslims and Christians.
– Sudan, where sets 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.
– 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, struggling with 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 can be 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 is spilling to surrounding countries.
– South Sudan, created as a fresh country this year 2010 2010. You can find two wars going on. Fight between the ex-vice president’s and the president’s forces is probably the conflicts. As 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 using 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 will always be reasons for flare-ups throughout history. Now 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, just another flavor and color.
Corporate Influence on the Internet & 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 knowing that some of what they’re doing is illegal or at 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 important to understand what ICANN is, taken from the ICANN website a brief introduction:
” To reach another person on the Internet you have to type an address into your computer – a name or a number. That address has to be unique so computers know how to locate 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 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 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 can have an important impact on the expansion and evolution of the web. “
Now with the push for ICANN to remove itself from governmental oversight to a more corporate setting it is even more worrying for future years of the internet since it exists now. Of-course it is currently choosing between the lesser of evils until hopefully a better solution is found. We’ve seen what happens once the so called “free market” takes over, 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 because of this article to go over the limits of “free market” by those who control it but rest assured we will achieve this in a fresh article. Giant corporations like Facebook, Google, Amazon among others plan to provide internet services to poor regions on earth where there is none or hard to obtain 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. Just like what the lobby of corporate groups wants for the internet as it is now. This 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 may want to take a look at how this is arranged in your country if at all.