Governance of countries, throughout history, has always depended on monitoring and tracking its citizens. Common people in their effort to safeguard their privacy have tried to set a boundary to what could possibly 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 stats. Add to that another powerful entity, the corporations, who in 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 not a prediction but a fact which is happening around the globe. The govporation will use and deploy whatever it could 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, you can find always people within governments and corporations who do not trust certain actions or policies. Hopefully that they can bring differ from the within 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 inside it is out to dictate life to the others to serve holy profit.
Now the world has turned into a global digital community in which a large percentage of individuals and devices are connected to this entity called the Internet. 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 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 your brain map of developers. Any security mechanisms that people build today are retrofits attempting to cover the gaps. The web, or the net to be short, reaches into most modern devices in one way or the other. It’s in your own home, office, outside “watching” you as well as on your own body as a wearable. More worrisome is the rise of intelligent mobile technology that’s potentially high-risk whether you are at 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 comprehend we have been 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 to life 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 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 will have to be enacted, you will need to be aware of new developments and their consequences. As somebody once said; eternal vigil may be the price one has to cover to maintain freedom. You don’t want to live in an Orwellian world where “your government” 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 individuals is not the way to go. It opens a huge can of worms that is a guaranteed ticket to a society we usually do not want. One reason is human nature as demonstrated countless times by history, not talking about the good kind. Another reason is that governments come and go just like the world keeps changing. When, not if, we enter another dark period in human history it will be an electronic disaster as all of the data gathered is now offered by the hands of evil. Innocent data will not exist, it is just a matter of the proper time and the incorrect hands to turn it right into a weapon.
Automated Multi Source Profiling
Automated multi source profiling is now 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 method itself is flawed and will cause a lot of visitors to land in databases where they do not belong. The section of gathering data from as many sources as possible and automatically use 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” you will see 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 usage of biometric data would be to help determine the identity of people in an authentic manner, particularly when multiple sets of data are employed. For instance, the passport documents of several 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 US biometric database in addition to what they need to determine the desirability of an individual to enter the united states. Sadly enough the application 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 country 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 large percentage of false positives. You can obtain automatically identified as an undesirable person grounding your travel plans or worse. Remember, countries, corporations and others are linking more and more of their databases to create a giant worldwide database where a lot of people have access. Some with not good intentions.
Everyone, Everywhere, Anytime
Consider the recent spate of news concerning the NSA snooping. Although for a lot of this was not just a surprise, for others who always called worried citizens tinfoil crazies, it really is embarrassing by all of the revelations about the widespread mass surveillance. Not only have they been monitoring domestic citizens, they have been 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 info acquired by NSA, is a testimony that even intelligence agencies have difficulties protecting their operations and data contrary to the human factor. It’s of-course not only the NSA, basically any similar agency in other countries does 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 state much. One of the reasons is that public figures can keep claiming you’ll find nothing to be worried about and life continues on for the common 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 level of secret agencies it goes beyond the known horizon. Everyone is a target, just by reading this article you are probably already being monitored and categorized in some database. Sorry to break it 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 rather than leaving it in the clear. This applies to 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 kind of encryption and privacy rules. That 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 implies that hardware may be the new priority target to intercept data. Not only criminals but additionally government agencies are, with or without the understanding of manufacturers, rigging products to spy on the end-user. That they gather a huge amount of information which has nothing to do with a legitimate target they are after is ignored. Everything is stored for future use. Now with the web of Things, IoT, it really is more important than ever before to implement proper security. Still it is not a warranty as other events show how shady agencies influence companies to weaken their product security to permit them easy access. Open-source hardware and software is advancing 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 A through X to B. Even though such progress is unwanted it cannot be stopped without destroying the web as it is and turning the world into one big surveillance state. Crime in every 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 a no go. Perhaps it could 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 seems to be getting normal to attack first and investigate later as that’s “always” the best defense against those pesky enemies of the state; pre-emptive cyber strikes against other countries are increasing while disinformation is being spread through “bought” news media outlets. Increase that infiltration of organizations along with 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 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 creating a potential situation worse by pre-emptive strikes, corrupting press for hidden agendas and spreading distrust in society by more infiltrations? By knowing the why and who society can determine if this can be the world we want to reside 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 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 regarded as almost a parallel supreme court today. Here the cases are completely one sided and are argued by the federal government only. There is 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 these warrants reached 1800 in 2013 alone. The official story is 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 increase and specific judges of FISA are likely to be amenable to issuing more of these authorizations. The authorizations often allow massive amounts of data to be supplied to the NSA and other agencies by telecom operators. In its rulings the court often assumes questions about constitutional validity and delivers interpretations which never undergo any public scrutiny. That is happening especially in the countries which always boast about their democracy and indicate others which are not. 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 use 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 beneath the scanner of government agencies and even companies trying to take over section of that job. As more and more people get “connected”, like on the web, their activities become visible to those who would like to monitor and track them. How or on which 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 potential for getting dubbed a potentially disruptive influence by someone. Now with all the newest technologies it is easy to 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 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. Which could or might not become reality, nonetheless it clearly demonstrates that this commercial behemoth thinks it really is feasible. Drones that have capability to reach the required 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 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 sort 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 genuine cop. Around this writing there are several companies already offering armed drones for crowd control with pepper-spray, rubber bullets, blinding lasers, ear-piercing audio and so on. A drone equipped with high-definition cameras along with other light spectrum modes can quickly identify targets in real-time linked to some mainframe. Several experts conclude there is an increasing trend of militarizing police forces and extending their capability with drones. The day may not be remote when police drones can launch missiles along with other projectiles on a crowd in its mission area, in your backyard and not in a a long way away country.
World Events Impact Liberties
Today’s world is fast changing with each negative event speeding up certain unpopular agendas. Not to say 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 each major event like 9/11, wars in countries like Afghanistan, Iraq, regional bloody revolutions with or without foreign influence, we do exactly what we should not do; sacrifice liberties we fought so difficult for in the past merely to get a false sense of security. That 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. 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 rather than just fighting the symptoms as usual. In the event that you still think in the end what has happened up to now and leaked to the general public there is still no reason going to 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 is the most well-known of these while there were 275 crypto currencies in existence by 2014. One clear trend you can actually notice is their popularity is steadily increasing. The market capitalization is an effective 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 another is at $774 million and Litecoin as a third at $96 million. With economic and political issues affecting various countries on the globe, 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 exemplory case of how people push back by starting to develop and offer alternatives to a system 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 larger 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 feel the daily grind to guarantee 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 power to restrict ways of trading which can’t be easily monitored, taxed and controlled. God forbid people to actually miss the middleman and deal directly with each other and change the machine from within.
Worldwide Increase of Conflicts
By the finish of year 2013, The Heidelberg Institute for International Conflict Research (HIIK) reported the existence of some 400 conflicts worldwide. At Bitcoin Era 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 find a way into the daily life of many people in stable communities. That in itself could be bad or good if it awakens visitors to reality and see why these exact things happen, the story in it 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 will keep growing:
– Democratic Republic of Congo, where in fact 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 united states 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 in 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 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 piece of Iraq.
– Iraq, fighting 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 can be increasing.
– The Philippines where Moro people continue their struggle for independence.
– Somalia continues to possess problems arising out of fighting between your rebel Al-Shabaab group and the federal government forces. Part of it really is spilling 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. 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 contrary to 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 is not 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 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, yet another flavor and color.
Corporate Influence on the Internet & ICANN
There are major developments in the digital world that indicate the increasing dominance of major corporations over the internet. They are closely dealing with multiple governments on policies, shared projects and sharing data. Most willingly cooperate despite knowing that some of what they are doing is illegal or at 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 short introduction:
” To reach another person on the net you will need to type an address into your computer – a name or perhaps a number. That address needs to 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. It is 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 net. 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 remove 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 is currently choosing between your lesser of evils until hopefully an improved solution is found. We have 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 for this article to go over the limits of “free market” by those that control it but rest assured we will achieve this in a fresh article. Giant corporations like Facebook, Google, Amazon among others intend to provide internet services to poor regions on the globe where there’s none or hard to obtain online. Of-course it isn’t just because it makes their heart warm however they wish to also decide what people pay, see, do and get on “their” version of the web. Exactly like what the lobby of corporate groups wants online 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 pressure from the corporate lobby. So you might want to have a look at how that is arranged in your country if at all.