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 create 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 into the lives of common people and their personal details. Add to that another powerful entity, the corporations, who within their quest for holy profit have tried to read customer behavior to ensure 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 not a prediction but a fact which is happening worldwide. The govporation will use and deploy whatever it can to 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, you can find always people within governments and corporations who do not agree with certain actions or policies. Hopefully that they can bring change from the within by doing whatever they can to steer the ship to a better destiny. One cannot indicate 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 turned into a global digital community where a large percentage of people and devices are linked to this entity called the web. One of the ways the web 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 was an instrument for collaboration between researchers and security issues were not on the mind 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 modern devices in one way or another. It’s in your own home, office, outside “watching” you and even on your own body as a wearable. More worrisome is the rise of intelligent mobile technology that is potentially high-risk whether you’re 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 are not seeing a decrease of threats to people everywhere but an increase. The additional power 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 check out 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. An important defense for individuals 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 individuals 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 talking about the nice kind. Another reason is that governments come and go similar to the world keeps changing. When, not if, we enter another dark period in history it will be an electronic disaster as all 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 now part of daily life whether you prefer it or not. Such profiling can be used to narrow down targets that need 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 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 provides the tools to manage this “big data” there will be increasing pressure to combine databases from many sources. Data gathered from government branches, commercial parties to non-profit organizations providing another piece of the puzzle about your life. With the technologies available today, it will be simple to collect, merge and manage the data about an individual. Bitcoin Revolution is collected without reason, innocent or not, for profit or just because it is possible.
Biometric Data Sharing
The application of biometric data would be to help determine the identity of individuals in an authentic manner, particularly if multiple sets of data are used. For 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 along with what they need to determine the desirability of a person to enter the country. Sadly enough the utilization of biometric data is currently also applied on the streets and by alternative party organizations for different uses. Think about identifying someone at specific places within the country and saving that information for later use. This 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 large percentage of false positives. You may get automatically identified as an unhealthy person grounding your travel plans or worse. Remember, countries, corporations and others are linking increasingly 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 concerning the NSA snooping. Although for some people this was not just a surprise, for others who always called worried citizens tinfoil crazies, it really is embarrassing by all 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 availability 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 merely the NSA, basically any similar agency far away does the same. Where possible they cooperate with others or go at it alone. A great deal of their operations aren’t reported to their own governments or only limited to a few people who 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 greatly help the own economy. In commercial terms it’s called business intelligence but when it comes to the amount of secret agencies it goes beyond the known horizon. Many people are a target, just by reading this article you are probably already being monitored and categorized in a few database. Sorry to break it to 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 instead of 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 a lot of companies to start implementing some kind of encryption and privacy rules. That is encouraging but not enough, especially the dominating corporations will always find a way to breach that trust while at the same time enjoy protection from their friends in governments. Recent, leaked, information shows that hardware may be the new priority target to intercept data. Not only criminals but also government agencies are, with or without the knowledge of manufacturers, rigging products to spy on the end-user. They gather a huge amount of information which has nothing in connection with a legitimate target they’re after is ignored. Everything is stored for future use. Now with the Internet 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 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’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 since it is and turning the planet into one big surveillance state. Crime in all its forms and shapes will always be part of humanity to deal with, so using this as grounds to sacrifice freedom, progress and alternatives is really a no go. Perhaps it 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 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 and other entities and we have been another step closer 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 news media for hidden agendas and spreading distrust in society by more infiltrations? By knowing the why and who society can determine if this is the world we want to live in or do we need to make changes.
More Secret Courts
Here we take including the U.S secret courts but this is by no means the only country using such setups for specific operations. 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 government only. You will find a review process to appeal decisions of the FISA court but they are few and far between. Not 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 main point is that there is no more accountability for individuals in this process. These warrants are bound to increase and specific judges of FISA will tend to be amenable to issuing more of the authorizations. The authorizations often allow massive levels of data to be supplied to the NSA and other agencies by telecom operators. In its rulings the court often assumes questions about constitutional validity and delivers interpretations which never undergo any public scrutiny. This is happening especially in the countries which always boast about their democracy and indicate others which are not. Most of the developed countries, specially 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 protect and serve the people appears 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 Internet, 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, there will be higher prospect of 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 or 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 perhaps asking the “wrong” questions, even as 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 this commercial behemoth thinks it really is feasible. Drones that have capacity to reach the required addresses are feasible today. However, authorities in different countries need to finalize regulations governing flying drones in urban airspace before commercial projects could launch. It is easy to realize that the various governmental agencies 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 sort of heavily armed drones found in military operations but instead the compact type with more features fitting an urban setting. Perhaps an initial step to robocops of the future with the authority of a real 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 and so on. A drone built with high-definition cameras along with other light spectrum modes can easily identify targets in real-time linked to some mainframe. Several experts conclude there’s an increasing trend of militarizing police forces and extending their capability with drones. Your day may not be remote when police drones can launch missiles and other projectiles on a crowd in its mission area, in your backyard rather than in a far away country.
World Events Impact Liberties
Today’s world is quickly 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 has on liberties and how some powerful groups reap the benefits of it. After every major event like 9/11, wars in countries like Afghanistan, Iraq, regional bloody revolutions with or without foreign influence, we do just what we ought to not do; sacrifice liberties we fought so hard for in the past merely to get a false sense of security. That type of flawed logic has helped raise the monitoring, tracking, limiting freedom of citizens and increasing the power of the govporation for its own agenda. Might know about be doing is discover the real 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 general public there’s still no reason to hit the alarm button then nothing else is going to change your view until it really is too late. Perhaps it 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 by 2014. One clear trend it is simple to notice is their popularity is steadily increasing. The marketplace capitalization is an excellent 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 a second reaches $774 million and Litecoin as a third at $96 million. With economic and political issues affecting various countries in the world, more people begin to hedge their bets on the national currencies and use these crypto currencies that aren’t controlled by any government or entity. It really is another example of how people push back by starting to develop and provide 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 start to live to cover 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 current job, not rock the boat at all and go through the daily grind to guarantee 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 crucial for those in power to restrict means of trading which cannot be easily monitored, taxed and controlled. God forbid people to actually miss the middleman and deal directly with one another 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 world. At least 20 of these fit the category war. As of 2015 the rise of conflict areas in per year is worrying since elements 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 visitors to reality and see why these 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 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 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 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 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, struggling with 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 possess problems arising out of fighting between your rebel Al-Shabaab group and the federal 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 the ex-vice president’s and the president’s forces is one of the conflicts. As the presidential force can be 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 mixed with terror groups using 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 isn’t directly expected. Economic disparities have always been reasons for flare-ups throughout history. Given that the BRICS countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) break into the “developed” countries club one must anticipate serious friction over market, influence, resources and territory. Internal conflicts, within countries, sometimes differ but often it involves a variety 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 old story for humanity as you may be thinking, just another flavor and color.
Corporate Influence online & ICANN
You can find major developments in the digital world that indicate the increasing dominance of major corporations 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’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 you should understand what ICANN is, taken from the ICANN website a short introduction:
” To reach another person online you will need to type an address into your personal computer – a name or a number. That address needs to be unique so computers know where to find 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. This is 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 online. It cannot stop spam and it doesn’t deal with usage of 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 Internet. “
Now with the push for ICANN to remove itself from governmental oversight to a far more corporate setting it is even more worrying for the future of the internet as 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 benefit from this but again those who can afford it in wealth and power will applaud it. It really is too much for this article to discuss the limits of “free market” by those who control it but rest assured we will achieve this in a fresh article. Giant corporations like Facebook, Google, Amazon and others plan to provide internet services to poor regions on earth 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. Just like what the lobby of corporate groups wants online 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 pressure from the corporate lobby. So you may want to take a look at how this is arranged in your country if at all.