Governance of countries, throughout history, has always depended on monitoring and tracking its citizens. Common people in their effort to protect their privacy have tried to create a boundary to what could be monitored and snooped. This boundary has kept shifting; particularly advancements in technology have always managed to get possible to reach further in to the lives of common people and their personal stats. Add to 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 can to keep the status quo regardless of the increasing gap between the common people and the few who own almost everything. Despite all the negativity we all see, hear and read, there are always people within governments and corporations who do not agree with certain actions or policies. We hope that they can bring differ from the within by doing whatever they are able to to steer the ship to a better destiny. One cannot point to a complete government or corporation and say everyone in it is 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 individuals and devices are linked to this entity called the web. One of the ways the Internet enriches our lives is that people can reach anyone with this net wherever they are. But, do not forget that if you can reach anyone easily, others can reach you equally easily and dig into your life. When it started, it had been 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 trying to cover the gaps. The internet, or the web to be short, reaches into most modern devices in a single way or another. It’s in your own home, office, outside “watching” you or even on your own body as a wearable. More worrisome is the rise of intelligent mobile technology that is potentially high-risk whether you are in the home or outside jogging in the park.
Several social-political trends indicate why those in power and in the monitoring / tracking business will seek to grab additional power and access. Shop around you and see what is going on while reading this to understand we are not seeing a loss of threats to people everywhere but an increase. The additional capacity to monitor your lives in-depth will be justified through certain, man-made, events and technical developments. The threat is not 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 give up 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 anyone else must respect by real laws. Suitable laws should be enacted, you will have to be familiar with new developments and their consequences. As somebody once said; eternal vigil is the price one has to pay to maintain freedom. You do not 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 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 which 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 similar to the world keeps changing. When, not if, we enter another dark period in history it will be a digital disaster as all the data gathered is now offered by the hands of evil. Innocent data will not exist, it is just a matter of the right time and the incorrect hands to turn it into a weapon.
Automated Multi Source Profiling
Automated multi source profiling is now part of daily life whether you like it or not. Such profiling is used to narrow down targets that require to be watched for just about any specific reason. The reason may 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 you possibly can and automatically use it to categorize people is requesting problems. Now that humongous amounts of data can be easily analyzed and computer technology supplies 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 on the market, 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 use of biometric data would be to help determine the identity of individuals in an authentic manner, particularly if multiple sets of data are employed. For instance, 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 have to determine the desirability of an individual 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 country and saving that information for later use. Bitcoin Era Site will not target international travelers anymore, but everyone within borders could be remotely identified by face recognition camera’s without reason. Many experts have accused biometric data of raising a lot of false positives. You can obtain automatically identified as an undesirable person grounding your travel plans or worse. Remember, countries, corporations and others are linking increasingly more of their databases to create a giant worldwide database in which a lot of folks have access. Some with not so good intentions.
Everyone, Everywhere, Anytime
Think about the recent spate of news about the NSA snooping. Although for some people this was not a surprise, for other people who always called worried citizens tinfoil crazies, it is embarrassing by all of the revelations about the widespread mass surveillance. Not merely 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 web 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 in other countries does the same. Where possible they cooperate with others or go at it alone. Lots of their operations aren’t reported to 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 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 level of secret agencies it goes beyond the known horizon. Many people are 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 which is slowly finding its solution to the general public to use encryption software to secure data instead of leaving it in the clear. This goes for exchanging data but also storing data on an area computer ranging from tablets, phones, desktops to servers. The awakening of the general public is now also forcing lots of 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 implies that hardware is the new priority target to intercept data. Not only criminals but also government agencies are, with or minus the understanding of manufacturers, rigging products to spy on the end-user. That they gather plenty of information which has nothing in connection with a legitimate target they are after is ignored. Everything is stored for future use. Now with the Internet of Things, IoT, it really is more important than ever before to implement proper security. Still it is not a guarantee as other events show how shady agencies influence companies to weaken their product security to permit them quick access. Open-source hardware and software is advancing because of the cooperation of worldwide communities of people and is an option to “blackboxes”. Combined 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 since it is and turning the planet into one big surveillance state. Crime in all its forms and shapes will be part of humanity to manage, 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 need to spread fear to help 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 is being spread through “bought” press outlets. Increase that infiltration of organizations along with other entities and we have been another step nearer to perfect Orwellian societies. Cyber strikes aren’t as visible to the mass so they usually do not appear to be important enough to question or think about even though they get reported. Some media outlets spread disinformation on command, another example of the govporation complex. The question is what’s 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 this can be a world we want to live in or do we have to make changes.
More Secret Courts
Here we take including the U.S secret courts but this is by no means the only real country using such setups for specific operations. The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act or the FISA of 1978 allows a secret court to be setup. It is considered to be almost a parallel supreme court today. Here the cases are completely one sided and so are argued by the federal government only. 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 appeal to the Supreme court. This 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 alone is logical. The main point is that there is no more 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 the authorizations. The authorizations often allow massive amounts of data to be supplied to the NSA along with other agencies by telecom operators. In its rulings the court often takes on questions about constitutional validity and delivers interpretations which never undergo any public scrutiny. That is happening especially in the countries which always boast about their democracy and point to others which are not. Most of the developed countries, particularly the ones growing into the “developed” club, certainly have such secret courts. The troublesome part, beside legality, is the usage of such data for more control and economic espionage on everyone. The old mission to safeguard and serve the people seems to be getting less important with each passing year.
More Threat Branding
It is no secret that lots of entities come beneath the scanner of government agencies and even companies trying to dominate part of that job. As increasing numbers of people get “connected”, like on the web, their activities become noticeable 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 have 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 as well as 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. Right now everyone who critically followed worldwide developments can predict 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’ll be delivering products bought by its customers through drones. Which could or may not become reality, nonetheless it clearly demonstrates that commercial behemoth thinks it is feasible. Drones that have capacity to reach the required 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 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. They are not the sort of heavily armed drones found in military operations but instead the compact type with an increase of features fitting an urban setting. Perhaps an initial step to robocops into the future with the authority of a real cop. As of this writing there are many companies already offering armed drones for crowd control with pepper-spray, rubber bullets, blinding lasers, ear-piercing audio and so on. 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. The 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 far 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 effect 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 should not do; sacrifice liberties we fought so difficult for in the past merely to get a false sense of security. That type of flawed logic has helped increase the monitoring, tracking, limiting freedom of citizens and increasing the power 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 to begin with and learn from it instead of just fighting the symptoms as usual. If you still think in the end what has happened up to now and leaked to the public there is still no reason going to the alarm button then nothing else is going to change your view until it really 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 the while there were 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 an effective 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 reaches $774 million and Litecoin as a third at $96 million. With economic and political issues affecting various countries on the planet, more people start to hedge their bets on the national currencies and use these crypto currencies that are not controlled by any government or entity. It is another exemplory case of how people push back 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 tell you their credit limits and begin to live to cover the rotating credit repayments. The larger this burden, the lesser may be the freedom of the person to essentially follow his free will. The primary concern of the person involved will be to stick to the current 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 means of trading which cannot be easily monitored, taxed and controlled. God forbid visitors to actually skip the middleman and deal directly with one another 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 around 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 could be bad or good if it awakens people to reality and see why these things happen, the story in it and not just a symptom out of the blue. The following is a limited list, in no particular order, of major ongoing conflicts which will keep growing:
– Democratic Republic of Congo, where 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 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 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 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, fighting the war against IS, assisted by an international 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 have problems arising out of fighting between your rebel Al-Shabaab group and the government forces. Part of it really is spilling over to surrounding countries.
– South Sudan, created as a fresh country this year 2010 2010. There are two wars going on. Fight between the ex-vice president’s and the president’s forces is probably the conflicts. While the presidential force is also engaged in supporting autonomy struggles of two provinces in neighboring Sudan.
– North Korea and South Korea, occasional skirmishes and technically still in war.
– Yemen, rebel groups fighting contrary to the central government blended with terror groups utilizing the country as their base of operations.
Although the majority of the above conflict areas have a long violent history it is expected to see new conflict in regions or countries where conflict isn’t directly expected. Economic disparities have always been reasons for flare-ups throughout history. Now that the BRICS countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) break into the “developed” countries club one must anticipate serious friction over market, influence, resources and territory. Internal conflicts, within countries, sometimes differ but often it involves a variety of one or more of the 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 might be thinking, yet 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 over 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’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 short introduction:
” To reach another person on the web you will need to type an address into your computer – a name or perhaps a number. That address has to be unique so computers know how to locate each other. ICANN coordinates these unique identifiers across the world. Without that coordination we wouldn’t have one global Internet. ICANN was formed in 1998. It is just a not-for-profit partnership of people from all over 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 net. 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 can have an important effect on the expansion and evolution of the web. “
Now with the push for ICANN to eliminate itself from governmental oversight to a far more corporate setting it is even more worrying for future years of the internet as it exists now. Of-course it really is currently choosing between your lesser of evils until hopefully an improved solution is found. We have seen what happens when the so called “free market” takes over, often people will not reap the benefits of this but again those who can afford 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 that control it but be confident we will achieve this in a new article. Giant corporations like Facebook, Google, Amazon and others plan to provide internet services to poor regions in the world where there is none or hard to get online. Of-course it is not just because it creates their heart warm however they wish to also decide what folks 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. That 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 have a look at how that is arranged in your country if at all.