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 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 details. Increase that another powerful entity, the corporations, who in their pursuit of holy profit have tried to learn customer behavior to ensure their profit targets are met. History shows businesses and governing powers have often worked on common agenda. Increasingly bypassing laws designed to protect folks from unreasonable interference within their life.
The line between governments and corporations is fading away. This is not a prediction but an undeniable fact which is happening across the world. The govporation will use and deploy whatever it could 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, you can find always people within governments and corporations who usually do not trust certain actions or policies. Hopefully that they can bring change from the inside by doing whatever they can to steer the ship to an improved destiny. One cannot point to a complete government or corporation and say everyone inside it is out to dictate life to the rest to serve holy profit.
Now the world has turned into a 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 when you can reach anyone easily, others can reach you equally easily and dig into your life. When it started, it had been a tool for collaboration between researchers and security issues weren’t on the mind map of developers. Any security mechanisms that people build today are retrofits attempting 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 house, office, outside “watching” you as well as 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. Look 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 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 isn’t just to privacy anymore but to life and limb. We will take a look at several current and upcoming developments which impact the personal world of the “commoner”. The pressures to give up personal data will undoubtedly be immense and relentless. An important defense for individuals is awareness and try to set the boundary which governments, corporate bodies or other people must respect by real laws. Suitable laws should be enacted, you need to be aware of new developments and their consequences. As somebody once said; eternal vigil may be the price one has to cover to maintain freedom. You do not want to live in an Orwellian world where “your government” watches your every move! Boundaries of one’s privacy should be guarded zealously.
Assuming by default that many people are a threat and therefor justifying total surveillance and control of people is not the way to go. It opens a huge can of worms that is a guaranteed ticket to a society we 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 just like the world keeps changing. When, not if, we enter another dark period in human history it will be an electronic disaster as all the data gathered is now available at the hands of evil. Innocent data will not exist, it is only a matter of the right time and the wrong hands to turn it right into a weapon.
Automated Multi Source Profiling
Automated multi source profiling is now part of lifestyle whether you like 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 may be good or bad, the technique itself is flawed and can cause a lot of visitors to land in databases where they don’t belong. The section of gathering data from as much sources as possible and automatically use it to categorize people is requesting problems. Now that humongous levels 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 little bit 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 all is collected without reason, innocent or not, for profit or simply because it is possible.
Biometric Data Sharing
The use of biometric data is to help determine the identity of people in an authentic manner, particularly if multiple sets of data are used. For instance, the passport documents of many 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 as well as what they have to determine the desirability of a person to enter the country. Sadly enough the usage of biometric data is currently 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. This does 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 can obtain automatically identified as an unhealthy person grounding your travel plans or worse. Remember, countries, corporations among others are linking a lot more of their databases to create a giant worldwide database where 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 others 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 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 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 lot of their operations are not reported to their own governments or only limited by a few people who are not allowed to say much. Among the reasons is that public figures will keep claiming there is nothing to worry about and life continues on for the common man. Also traditional intelligence gathering shifted to economic intelligence to greatly help the own economy. In commercial terms it’s called business intelligence however when it comes to the level of secret agencies it goes beyond the known horizon. Everyone is a target, just by scanning this article you are probably already being monitored and categorized in some 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 use encryption software to secure data instead of 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 a lot of companies to start implementing some type 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 the same time enjoy protection from their friends in governments. Recent, leaked, information demonstrates 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’re after is ignored. Everything is stored for future use. Now with the Internet of Things, IoT, it really is more important than ever to implement proper security. Still it isn’t 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 thanks to the cooperation of worldwide communities of people and is an option to “blackboxes”. Coupled with more decentralizing of encrypted data flows mixed through Tor-like networks it’ll 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 world into one big surveillance state. Crime in all its forms and shapes will always be part of humanity to manage, so using this as a reason to sacrifice freedom, progress and alternatives is a no go. Perhaps it could benefit only the few who’ve a different agenda and have 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 is “always” the best defense against those pesky enemies of hawaii; pre-emptive cyber strikes against other countries are increasing while disinformation has been spread through “bought” news media outlets. Add to that infiltration of organizations along with 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 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 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 is the 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 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 so are argued by the 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 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 state story would be to stop terrorism and protect people which in itself is logical. The main point is that there is no more accountability for individuals in this process. These warrants are bound to improve and specific judges of FISA are likely to be amenable to issuing more of these 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 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 indicate others which are not. Most of the developed countries, particularly 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 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 also companies trying to take over part of that job. As increasing numbers of people get “connected”, like on the Internet, their activities become visible to those who wish to monitor and track them. How or on which basis any entity is dubbed a “potential threat” is usually 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 or even know such entry exists in a few database. The broader powers the govporation complex gets the more entities will be branded as a potential threat. By now everyone who critically followed worldwide developments can predict a “threat” could be based 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 could or may not become reality, nonetheless it clearly demonstrates that commercial behemoth thinks it really is feasible. Drones that have capability to reach the desired 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 already are increasing the urban use 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. These 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 a first step to robocops into the future with the authority of a genuine cop. Around this writing there are various companies already offering armed drones for crowd control with pepper-spray, rubber bullets, blinding lasers, ear-piercing audio and so on. A drone equipped with high-definition cameras along with other light spectrum modes can quickly identify targets in real-time linked to some mainframe. Several experts conclude there’s a growing 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 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 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 should not do; sacrifice liberties we fought so hard for in the past just 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 energy of the govporation because of its own agenda. What we should be doing is discover 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 up to now and leaked to the public there’s still no reason to hit the alarm button then nothing else will change your view until it 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 may be the most well-known of the while there have been 275 crypto currencies around by 2014. One clear trend it is simple to notice is their popularity is steadily increasing. The market capitalization is a superb indicator of this although it is a bumpy ride with all the speculators involved. The Bitcoin market cap happens to be 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 planet, more people start to hedge their bets on the national currencies and work with these crypto currencies that are not controlled by any government or entity. It really is another example of how people push back by starting to develop and offer 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 bigger this burden, the lesser is the freedom of the person to essentially follow his free will. The principal concern of the individual involved will be to stick 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 can’t be easily monitored, taxed and controlled. God forbid visitors to actually skip the middleman and deal directly with each other and change the system 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 across the world. At least 20 of these fit the category war. By 2015 the rise of conflict areas in per year is worrying since components 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 exact things happen, the story behind them 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 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 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 very own Republic states backed by Russia.
– Nigeria, where terror group Boko Haram within 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 overtaking a considerable part including a bit of Iraq.
– Iraq, struggling with the war against IS, assisted by a global coalition consisting of the united states, Arab countries, Iran and the EU. technical analysis 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 new country in 2010 2010 2010. You can find two wars going on. Fight between your ex-vice president’s and the president’s forces is probably 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 utilizing the country as their base of operations.
Although most of the above conflict areas have an extended violent history it is expected to see new conflict in regions or countries where conflict is not directly expected. Economic disparities have always been known 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 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 old story for humanity as you may be thinking, just 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 on 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 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 it is important to understand what ICANN is, taken from the ICANN website a brief introduction:
” To reach another person online you should type an address into your computer – a name or a number. That address must be unique so computers know where to find 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 is a not-for-profit partnership of people from around the world dedicated to keeping the web secure, stable and interoperable. It promotes competition and develops policy on the Internet’s unique identifiers. ICANN doesn’t control content on the Internet. 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 far more corporate setting it is a lot more worrying for future years of the internet since it exists now. Of-course it really is currently choosing between your lesser of evils until hopefully a better solution is found. We’ve seen what happens once the so called “free market” takes over, often people will not reap the benefits of this but again those that are able it in wealth and power will applaud it. It is too much for this article to discuss the limits of “free market” by those who control it but be confident we will achieve this in a new article. Giant corporations like Facebook, Google, Amazon among others intend to provide internet services to poor regions on earth where there is none or hard to obtain online. Of-course it is not just because it makes their heart warm but they wish to also decide what people pay, see, do and obtain 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 repair net neutrality by law, although some implemented a weak version of it under pressure from the corporate lobby. So you may want to have a look at how that is arranged in your country if at all.