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. Add to 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 designed to protect people from unreasonable interference in their life.
The line between governments and corporations is fading away. This is simply not a prediction but an undeniable fact which is happening worldwide. The govporation will 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 anything. 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. 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 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 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 Internet enriches our lives is that we can reach anyone with this net wherever they are. But then, do not forget that if you can reach anyone easily, others can reach you equally easily and dig into your daily life. When it started, it was 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 a single way or the other. It’s in your own home, office, outside “watching” you and 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 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. Shop around you and see what is going on while reading this to understand we have been not seeing a decrease of threats to people everywhere but a rise. The additional capacity to monitor your lives in-depth will undoubtedly be justified through certain, man-made, events and technical developments. The threat is not 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 the people is awareness and make an effort to set the boundary which governments, corporate bodies or anyone else must respect by real laws. Suitable laws will have to be enacted, you 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 everyone is a threat and therefor justifying total surveillance and control of people is not the way to go. 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 of the data gathered is now available at the hands of evil. Innocent data will not exist, it is only a matter of the proper time and the incorrect hands to turn it right into a weapon.
Automated Multi Source Profiling
Automated multi source profiling is currently part of daily life whether you prefer it or not. Such profiling can be used to narrow down targets that require 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 people to land in databases where they do not belong. The section of gathering data from as much sources as you possibly can and automatically use it to categorize people is asking for problems. Now that humongous amounts of data can be easily analyzed and computer technology supplies the tools to control this “big data” you will see 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 data about an individual. That is collected without reason, innocent or not, for profit or simply because it is possible.
Biometric Data Sharing
The usage of biometric data is to help determine the identity of people in an authentic manner, particularly if 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 united states biometric database as well as what they need to determine the desirability of an individual to enter the country. Sadly enough the use of biometric data is currently also applied on the streets and by third party organizations for different uses. Think of identifying some one at specific places within the united states and saving that information for later use. This 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 can obtain automatically identified as an unhealthy 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 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 merely have they been monitoring domestic citizens, they are cited for snooping on people and political parties far away. 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 against the human factor. It’s of-course not only the NSA, basically any similar agency far away does the same. Where possible they cooperate with others or go at it alone. Plenty of their operations aren’t reported to 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 will keep claiming you’ll find nothing to worry about and life goes on for the common man. Also traditional intelligence gathering shifted to economic intelligence to help the own economy. In commercial terms it’s called business intelligence but when it comes to the amount of secret agencies it goes beyond the known horizon. Many people are a target, just by reading this article you’re probably already being monitored and categorized in a few database. Sorry to break it for you.
Hardware Bigger Target
There is a trend which is slowly finding its way to the general public to utilize encryption software to secure data rather than leaving it in the clear. This applies to exchanging data but also storing data on a local computer ranging 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 however, 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 shows that hardware is the new priority target to intercept data. Not only criminals but additionally government agencies are, with or without the knowledge of manufacturers, rigging products to spy on the end-user. They gather plenty 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 web of Things, IoT, it 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 allow them quick access. Open-source hardware and software is advancing thanks to the cooperation of worldwide communities of people and is an alternative to “blackboxes”. Combined with more decentralizing of encrypted data flows mixed through Tor-like networks it will mean people can still get data from the through X to B. Even though such progress is unwanted it can’t 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 cope 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 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. Add to that infiltration of organizations and other entities and we are another step closer to perfect Orwellian societies. Cyber strikes are not as visible to the mass so they usually do not seem to be important enough to question or think about even if they get reported. Some media outlets spread disinformation on command, another example of the govporation complex. The question is what is accomplished beside creating 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 reside in or do we need to make changes.
More Secret Courts
Here we take including the U.S secret courts but that 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. You will find a review process to appeal decisions of the FISA court but these are few and far between. Not just one case has gone in appeal to the Supreme court. This is actually the court that issues warrants for (mass)surveillance including phone taps on individuals. The extent of the warrants reached 1800 in 2013 alone. The official story would be to stop terrorism and protect people which in itself is logical. The point is that there is no more accountability for the people in this technique. These warrants are bound to increase and specific judges of FISA will tend to be amenable to issuing more of these authorizations. The authorizations often allow massive levels of data to be supplied to the NSA along with other agencies by telecom operators. In its rulings the court often assumes questions about constitutional validity and delivers interpretations which never undergo any public scrutiny. This is happening especially in the countries which always boast about their democracy and point to others which are not. Lots of the developed countries, specially the ones growing in to the “developed” club, certainly have such secret courts. The troublesome part, beside legality, may be 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 many entities come beneath the scanner of government agencies and also companies trying to take over section of that job. As increasing numbers of people get “connected”, like on the net, 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 newest technologies you can easily 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. By 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. That may or may not become reality, but it clearly demonstrates that this commercial behemoth thinks it is feasible. Drones that have capacity 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. You can easily realize that the many governmental agencies are already increasing the urban usage of flying drones for surveillance and monitoring purposes. Beside that it plays a part in 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 instead 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. As of this writing there are numerous 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 and other light spectrum modes can quickly 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 far off when police drones can launch missiles and other projectiles on a crowd in its mission area, in your backyard rather than in a far away country.
World Events Impact Liberties
Today’s world is quickly changing with each negative event accelerating certain unpopular agendas. Not saying that change is definitely bad, but we focus here on the result it is wearing liberties and how some powerful groups reap the benefits of it. After 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 ought to not do; sacrifice liberties we fought so hard 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 because of 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 instead of just fighting the outward symptoms as usual. If you still think in the end what has happened so far and leaked to the public there’s still no reason going to the alarm button then nothing else will change your view until it really is too late. Perhaps it 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 by 2014. One clear trend you can actually notice is their popularity is steadily increasing. Bitcoin Revolution Site is a wonderful indicator of this although it is a bumpy ride with all the current speculators involved. The Bitcoin market cap is currently 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 in the world, more people start to hedge their bets on the national currencies and use these crypto currencies that aren’t controlled by any government or entity. It is another exemplory case of how people push back by starting to develop and provide alternatives to a system which will not serve them anymore.
Cash Limits & Debt Increasing
Most developed countries, governments, float nowadays on credit while 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 is the freedom of the person to really follow his free will. The principal concern of the individual involved will be to stick to the existing job, not rock the boat at all and go through the daily grind to ensure the debt repayments happen. One very effective method of control is to have greater burdens on everybody’s shoulders. To keep that control it is vital for those in capacity to restrict ways of trading which cannot 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 around the globe. 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 several people in stable communities. That in itself could be bad or good if it awakens people to reality and see why these exact things happen, the story behind them and not just a symptom out of the blue. The next is really a limited list, in no particular order, of major ongoing conflicts which keeps 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 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 very 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, struggling with 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 the rebel Al-Shabaab group and the government forces. Part of it is spilling to surrounding countries.
– South Sudan, created as a new country this year 2010 2010. There are 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 against the central government blended with terror groups using the country as their base of operations.
Although almost all of the above conflict areas have an extended violent history it is expected to see new conflict in regions or countries where conflict isn’t directly expected. Economic disparities will always be known 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 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 on the net & 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 realizing 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 you should understand what ICANN is, extracted from the ICANN website a short introduction:
” To reach another person on the web you have 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 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 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 online. It cannot stop spam also it doesn’t deal with access to the web. 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 eliminate itself from governmental oversight to a more corporate setting it is a lot more worrying for future years 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’ve 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 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 fresh article. Giant corporations like Facebook, Google, Amazon among others intend to provide internet services to poor regions on earth where there’s 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 internet. Just like what the lobby of corporate groups wants for the internet as it is now. That is also why some countries went ahead to fix net neutrality by law, although some implemented a weak version of it under great pressure from the corporate lobby. So you may want to take a look at how that is arranged in your country if.