Governance of countries, throughout history, has always depended on monitoring and tracking its citizens. Common people within their effort to protect their privacy have tried to create a boundary to what could possibly be monitored and snooped. This boundary has kept shifting; particularly advancements in technology have always managed to get possible to reach further into the lives of common people and their personal stats. Increase that another powerful entity, the corporations, who in their quest for 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 around the globe. The govporation will use and deploy whatever it could to keep the status quo regardless of 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 usually do not agree with certain actions or policies. We hope that they can bring differ from the within by doing whatever they can to steer the ship to an improved destiny. One cannot point to a whole government or corporation and say everyone in it has gone out to dictate life to the others to serve holy profit.
Now the world has developed into global digital community where a large percentage of individuals and devices are connected to this entity called the Internet. One of the ways the web enriches our lives is that people can reach anyone on 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 weren’t on your brain map of developers. Any security mechanisms that people build today are retrofits trying to cover the gaps. The web, or the net to be short, reaches into most modern devices in a single 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 seize additional power and access. Look around you and see the proceedings while reading this to understand we are not seeing a decrease 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 alive and limb. We will take 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. A significant defense for the people 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 aware of new developments and their consequences. As somebody once said; eternal vigil is the price one has to pay to maintain freedom. You don’t want to reside in an Orwellian world where “big brother” watches your every move! Boundaries of your privacy need to 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 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 good 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 wrong hands to turn it 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 require 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 many sources as possible and automatically utilize it to categorize people is asking for problems. Now that humongous amounts of data can be easily analyzed and computer technology provides the tools to control 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 piece of the puzzle about your daily 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 simply 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 employed. 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 along with what they need to determine the desirability of a person to enter the country. Sadly enough the application of biometric data is currently also applied on the streets and by third 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 large percentage of false positives. You can aquire automatically identified as an undesirable person grounding your travel plans or worse. Remember, countries, corporations and others are linking progressively more of their databases to form a giant worldwide database in which a lot of folks have access. Some with not so good intentions.
Everyone, Everywhere, Anytime
Consider the recent spate of news about the NSA snooping. Although for some people this was not just 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 in other countries. No doubt, the extensive availability of internet technologies and the reach of the web have made these activities possible. That some well-known whistle-blowers could access the info acquired by NSA, is really a testimony that even intelligence agencies have difficulties protecting their operations and data contrary to the human factor. It’s of-course not merely the NSA, basically any similar agency in other countries does the same. Where possible they cooperate with others or go at it alone. A great deal of their operations are not reported with their own governments or only limited to a few people that are not allowed to say much. Among the reasons is that public figures can keep claiming there is nothing to worry about and life goes on for the common man. Also traditional intelligence gathering shifted to economic intelligence to greatly help the own economy. In Bitcoin Revolution Site ‘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 use encryption software to secure data rather than leaving it in the clear. This applies to exchanging data but additionally storing data on an area computer ranging from tablets, phones, desktops to servers. The awakening of everyone is now also forcing lots of companies to start implementing some type 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 exactly the same time enjoy protection from their friends in governments. Recent, leaked, information shows that hardware is the new priority target to intercept data. Not only criminals but also government agencies are, with or without the understanding of manufacturers, rigging products to spy on the end-user. 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 web of Things, IoT, it is more important than ever 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 permit them easy access. Open-source hardware and software is advancing thanks to the cooperation of worldwide communities of people and is an option to “blackboxes”. Combined with more decentralizing of encrypted data flows mixed through Tor-like networks it’ll mean people can still get data from the through X to B. Even if such progress is unwanted it can’t be stopped without destroying the web as it is and turning the planet into one big surveillance state. Crime in every its forms and shapes will be part of humanity to deal with, so using this as a reason to sacrifice freedom, progress and alternatives is a no go. Perhaps it would benefit only the few who have a different agenda and have 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 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. Increase that infiltration of organizations and other entities and we have been another step nearer to perfect Orwellian societies. Cyber strikes are not as noticeable to the mass so they do not seem to be important enough to question or consider even if they get reported. Some media outlets spread disinformation on command, another example 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 this is actually the world we want to reside in or do we need to make changes.
More Secret Courts
Here we take as an example the U.S secret courts but that 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 considered to be almost a parallel supreme court today. Here the cases are completely one sided and so are argued by the government only. There is a review process to appeal decisions of the FISA court but these are few and far between. Not just one case has gone in interest the Supreme court. This is actually 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 technique. These warrants are bound to improve and specific judges of FISA will tend to be amenable to issuing more of these authorizations. The authorizations often allow massive amounts of data to be supplied to the NSA 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, particularly the ones growing into 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 lots of 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 on the Internet, their activities become noticeable to those who wish 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 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 predicated on economic motivation or simply asking the “wrong” questions, even while a journalist.
Weaponized Urban Drones
Amazon has announced that it will be delivering products bought by its customers through drones. That may or might not become reality, but it clearly demonstrates that commercial behemoth thinks it is feasible. Drones that have capability to reach the desired addresses are feasible today. However, authorities in various countries need to finalize regulations governing flying drones in urban airspace before commercial projects could launch. You can easily realize that the various governmental agencies are already increasing the urban use of flying drones for surveillance and monitoring purposes. Beside that it contributes to mass-surveillance, a worrying development is arming drones with lethal and non-lethal weapons for use against civilians. These are not the kind of heavily armed drones found in military operations but instead the compact type with more features fitting an urban setting. Perhaps a first step to robocops into the future with the authority of a real cop. Around this writing there are numerous companies already offering armed drones for crowd control with pepper-spray, rubber bullets, blinding lasers, ear-piercing audio and so forth. A drone built with high-definition cameras along with other light spectrum modes can quickly identify targets in real-time connected 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 along with other projectiles on a crowd in its mission area, in your backyard rather than 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 benefit from 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 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 energy of the govporation for its own agenda. What we should be doing is find the root 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 so far and leaked to the public there is 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 have come into existence over the last few years. Bitcoin is the most well-known of these while there have been 275 crypto currencies in existence as of 2014. One clear trend you can easily notice is their popularity is steadily increasing. The market capitalization is a good indicator of this though it is a bumpy ride with all the current 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 the globe, more people begin to hedge their bets on the national currencies and use these crypto currencies that are not 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 something which does 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 pay the rotating credit repayments. The bigger this burden, the lesser may be the freedom of the person to really 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 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 help keep that control it is necessary for those in power to restrict ways of trading which can’t be easily monitored, taxed and controlled. God forbid visitors to actually miss the middleman and deal directly with each other and change the system from within.
Worldwide Increase of Conflicts
By the end of year 2013, The Heidelberg Institute for International Conflict Research (HIIK) reported the existence of some 400 conflicts worldwide. 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 find a way into the daily life of several people in stable communities. That alone could 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 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 wanting to take over the country fighting against mostly French forces who intervened.
– The war between Ukraine, backed by the US/EU, against rebels in the east of Ukraine where they declared their own Republic states backed by Russia.
– Nigeria, where terror group Boko Haram within their try to introduce Sharia law, keeps attacking moderate Muslims and Christians.
– Sudan, where groups of mixed ethnic origin are fighting with government forces and each other.
– 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 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 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 have problems arising out of fighting between your rebel Al-Shabaab group and the government forces. Part of it really is spilling to surrounding countries.
– South Sudan, created as a fresh country in 2010 2010 2010. There are two wars going on. Fight between the ex-vice president’s and the president’s forces is among the conflicts. While the presidential force is also engaged in supporting autonomy struggles of two provinces in neighboring Sudan.
– North Korea and South Korea, occasional skirmishes and technically still in war.
– Yemen, rebel groups fighting against the central government blended with terror groups utilizing the country as their base of operations.
Although a lot of the above conflict areas have a long violent history it is likely to see new conflict in regions or countries where conflict isn’t directly expected. Economic disparities have always been 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 kind of story for humanity as you might be thinking, yet 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 are doing is illegal or at the very least very unethical. But holy profit, power and status is something shared by both parties giving it the name “the govporation”. Before we continue you should understand what ICANN is, taken from the ICANN website a short introduction:
” To reach another person on the net you need to type an address into your personal computer – a name or perhaps a number. That address needs 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 everywhere 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 web. It cannot stop spam and it doesn’t deal with access to the web. But through its coordination role of the Internet’s naming system, it can have an important impact on the expansion and evolution of the Internet. “
Now with the push for ICANN to eliminate itself from governmental oversight to a far more corporate setting it is a lot more worrying for the future of the internet as it exists now. Of-course it is currently choosing between the lesser of evils until hopefully an improved solution is found. We have seen what happens when the so called “free market” gets control, often people will not benefit from this but again those who can afford it in wealth and power will applaud it. It 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 on the globe where there’s none or hard to get online. Of-course it is not just because it makes their heart warm however they wish to also decide what people pay, see, do and get on “their” version of the internet. Exactly like what the lobby of corporate groups wants online as it is now. This is also why some countries went ahead to fix net neutrality by law, even though some implemented a weak version of it under great pressure from the corporate lobby. So you may want to have a look at how this is arranged in your country if at all.