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 be monitored and snooped. This boundary has kept shifting; particularly advancements in technology have always made it possible to reach further in to the lives of common people and their personal details. Increase that another powerful entity, the corporations, who in their pursuit of holy profit have tried to read customer behavior to make sure their profit targets are met. History shows businesses and governing powers have often worked on common agenda. Increasingly bypassing laws intended to protect folks from unreasonable interference in their life.
The line between governments and corporations is fading away. This is not a prediction but a fact which is happening all over the world. The govporation use and deploy whatever it can to help 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 usually do not agree with certain actions or policies. Hopefully that they can bring change from the inside by doing whatever they are able to to steer the ship to an improved destiny. One cannot point to a whole 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 turned into a global digital community where a large percentage of individuals 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 with 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 was an instrument for collaboration between researchers and security issues were not on the mind 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 modern devices in one way or the other. It’s in your own home, office, outside “watching” you or even on your own body as a wearable. More worrisome may be the rise of intelligent mobile technology that is 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 grab additional power and access. Look around you and see the proceedings while reading this to understand we have been 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 isn’t just to privacy anymore but to life and limb. We will have a look at 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 make an effort 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 aware of 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 reside in an Orwellian world where “your government” watches your every move! Boundaries of your 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 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 similar to 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 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 lifestyle whether you like it or not. Such profiling is used to narrow down targets that need to be watched for any specific reason. The reason may be good or bad, the method itself is flawed and can cause a lot of visitors to land in databases where they don’t belong. The part of gathering data from as many sources as possible and automatically use it to categorize people is requesting problems. Now that humongous levels of data can be easily analyzed and computer technology provides the tools to control 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 life. With the technologies available today, it will be easy to collect, merge and manage the info about an individual. That is collected without reason, innocent or not, for profit or just because it is possible.
Biometric Data Sharing
The use of biometric data would be to help determine the identity of individuals in an authentic manner, particularly if multiple sets of data are used. 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 in addition to what they need to determine the desirability of a person to enter the united states. Sadly enough using biometric data is now also applied on the streets and by alternative party organizations for different uses. Think about identifying some one at specific places within the united states and saving that information for later use. This does 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 large percentage of false positives. You may get automatically identified as an unhealthy person grounding your travel plans or worse. Remember, countries, corporations and others are linking a growing number of of their databases to create a giant worldwide database in which a lot of people have access. Some with not good intentions.
Everyone, Everywhere, Anytime
Think about the recent spate of news concerning the NSA snooping. Although for a lot of 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 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 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 the same. Where possible they cooperate with others or go at it alone. A great deal of their operations aren’t reported with their own governments or only limited to a few people that are not allowed to say much. One of the reasons is that public figures can keep claiming you’ll find nothing to be worried about and life goes on for the normal man. Also traditional intelligence gathering shifted to economic intelligence to greatly 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’re probably already being monitored and categorized in some 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 instead of leaving it in the clear. This applies to exchanging data but additionally storing data on an area computer which range from tablets, phones, desktops to servers. The awakening of everyone is now also forcing many companies to start implementing some kind of encryption and privacy rules. This 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 just 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 to do with a legitimate target they’re after is ignored. Everything is stored for future use. Now with the Internet of Things, IoT, it really is more important than ever before 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 individuals 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 A through X to B. Even if such progress is unwanted it cannot be stopped without destroying the internet as 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 deal 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 seems to be getting normal to attack first and investigate later as that is “always” the very 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” news media 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 visible to the mass so they do not appear to be important enough to question or consider even though they get reported. Some media outlets spread disinformation on command, another exemplory case of the govporation complex. The question is what’s 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 here is the world we want to live in or do we need to make changes.
More Secret Courts
Here we take including the U.S secret courts but this is by no means the only country using such setups for specific operations. Bitcoin Revolution Official or the FISA of 1978 allows a secret court to be setup. It really is regarded as almost a parallel supreme court today. Here the cases are completely one sided and are argued by the 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 a 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 alone is logical. The point is that there is forget about accountability for the people 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 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. 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 into 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 protect 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 under the scanner of government agencies and even companies trying to take over part of that job. As increasing numbers of people get “connected”, like on the net, their activities become noticeable to those who want 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, there will be higher potential for getting dubbed a potentially disruptive influence by someone. Now with all the current newest technologies it is easy to get tagged as a threat but almost impossible 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 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 perhaps asking the “wrong” questions, even as a journalist.
Weaponized Urban Drones
Amazon has announced that it will be delivering products bought by its customers through drones. That could or may not become reality, but it clearly demonstrates that commercial behemoth thinks it really is feasible. Drones that have capability to reach the required 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 contributes to mass-surveillance, a worrying development is arming drones with lethal and non-lethal weapons for use against civilians. They are not the kind 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 of the future with the authority of a genuine cop. As of this writing there are several 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 easily identify targets in real-time connected to some mainframe. Several experts conclude there’s an increasing 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 to say that change is always bad, but we focus here on the result it has on 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 just what we ought to not do; sacrifice liberties we fought so difficult for in the past merely 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 find the real cause of why a conflict or event happened in the first place and learn from it instead of just fighting the symptoms as usual. If you still think in the end what has happened so far and leaked to the general public there is still no reason to hit the alarm button then nothing else is going to change your view until it is too late. Perhaps it really is too late.
The Rise Of Crypto Currencies
Several crypto currencies have come 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 it is simple to notice is their popularity is steadily increasing. The marketplace capitalization is a wonderful indicator of this though it is a bumpy ride with all the speculators involved. The Bitcoin market cap is currently 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 are not 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 will not serve them anymore.
Cash Limits & Debt Increasing
Most developed countries, governments, float nowadays on credit while an increasing amount of citizens run through their credit limits and start to live to cover the rotating credit repayments. The larger this burden, the lesser is the freedom of the person to essentially follow his free will. The principal concern of the individual involved will be to adhere to the existing job, not rock the boat at all and feel the daily grind to ensure the debt repayments happen. One very effective way of control would be to have greater burdens on everybody’s shoulders. To keep that control it is vital for those in power to restrict ways of trading which cannot 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 finish of year 2013, The Heidelberg Institute for International Conflict Research (HIIK) reported the existence of some 400 conflicts all over the world. At least 20 of the fit the category war. As of 2015 the rise of conflict areas in per year is worrying since components 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 behind them and not just an indicator out of the blue. The following 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 in 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 taking over a considerable part including a bit 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 have problems arising out of fighting between the rebel Al-Shabaab group and the government forces. Part of it is spilling over to surrounding countries.
– South Sudan, created as a new 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 an extended violent history it is likely 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. 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 next causes: poor economy, corruption, police state, religious tensions, foreign influence, oppression, unpopular politics, extreme difference poor vs rich, racial inequality. The same kind of story for humanity as you may be thinking, just another flavor and color.
Corporate Influence online & ICANN
You can find 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 understanding that some of what they are 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 very important understand what ICANN is, taken from the ICANN website a brief introduction:
” To reach another person on the net you need to type an address into your computer – a name or a number. That address should be unique so computers know how to locate each other. ICANN coordinates these unique identifiers around 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 around the world 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 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 remove itself from governmental oversight to a more corporate setting it is even more worrying for the future of the internet since it exists now. Of-course it is currently choosing between your lesser of evils until hopefully a better solution is found. We’ve seen what happens once the so called “free market” gets control, often people will not benefit from this but again those that can afford it in wealth and power will applaud it. It is too much because of this article to go over the limits of “free market” by those that control it but rest assured we will achieve this in a fresh 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 obtain online. Of-course it isn’t just because it makes their heart warm but 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 for the internet as it is now. This is also why some countries went ahead to repair net neutrality by law, even though some implemented a weak version of it under pressure from the corporate lobby. So you might want to take a look at how this is arranged in your country if.