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 in to the lives of common people and their personal stats. Increase that another powerful entity, the corporations, who within their pursuit of holy profit have tried to read customer behavior to make sure their profit targets are met. History shows businesses and governing powers have often done common agenda. Increasingly bypassing laws designed to protect folks 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 everywhere. The govporation 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 we all see, hear and read, you can find 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 inside by doing whatever they are able to to steer the ship to a better destiny. One cannot indicate 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 developed into global digital community in which a large percentage of people and devices are connected to this entity called the web. One of the ways the web enriches our lives is that people can reach anyone on this net wherever they are. But then, do not forget that when you can reach anyone easily, others can reach you equally easily and dig into your daily life. When it started, it was an instrument for collaboration between researchers and security issues weren’t on the mind map of developers. Any security mechanisms that people build today are retrofits trying to cover the gaps. The web, or the net to be short, reaches into modern devices in a single way or another. It’s in your house, office, outside “watching” you as well as on your body as a wearable. More worrisome is the rise of intelligent mobile technology that’s potentially high-risk whether you’re 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 seize additional power and access. Shop around you and see what is going on while reading this to comprehend we have been not seeing a loss of threats to people everywhere but a rise. 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 only 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 be immense and relentless. A significant 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 will need to be familiar with new developments and their consequences. As somebody once said; eternal vigil may be the price one has to pay to maintain freedom. You don’t want to reside in an Orwellian world where “your government” watches your every move! Boundaries of one’s privacy have to be guarded zealously.
Assuming by default that many people are a threat and therefor justifying total surveillance and control of people is not the way to go. 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 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 does not exist, it is only 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 lifestyle whether you like it or not. Such profiling is used to narrow down targets that need to be watched for any specific reason. The reason may be good or bad, the method itself is flawed and can cause a lot of visitors to land in databases where they do not belong. The part of gathering data from as much sources as you possibly can and automatically utilize it to categorize people is asking for problems. Now that humongous levels of data could be easily analyzed and computer technology provides the tools to control this “big data” you will have 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 just because it is possible.
Biometric Data Sharing
The utilization of biometric data is to help determine the identity of people in an authentic manner, particularly when multiple sets of data are employed. 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 united states biometric database as well as what they need to determine the desirability of an individual to enter the united states. Sadly enough the application of biometric data is currently also applied on the streets and by third party organizations for different uses. Think of identifying Bitcoin Era at specific places within the united states and saving that information for later use. This will not target international travelers anymore, but everyone within borders can be remotely identified by face recognition camera’s without reason. Many experts have accused biometric data of raising a large percentage of false positives. You can obtain automatically identified as an unhealthy person grounding your travel plans or worse. Remember, countries, corporations and others are linking progressively more of their databases to create a giant worldwide database where a lot of people have access. Some with not so good intentions.
Everyone, Everywhere, Anytime
Consider the recent spate of news about the NSA snooping. Although for a lot of this was not 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 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 availability 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 contrary to the human factor. It’s of-course not only the NSA, basically any similar agency far away does exactly the same. Where possible they cooperate with others or go at it alone. A lot of their operations aren’t reported to their own governments or only limited to a few people that are not allowed to state much. One of the reasons is that public figures will keep claiming there is nothing to worry about and life goes on for the normal 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 level of secret agencies it goes beyond the known horizon. Everyone is a target, just by reading this article you’re 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 applies to exchanging data but also storing data on an area computer which range from tablets, phones, desktops to servers. The awakening of the general public is now also forcing a great deal of companies to start implementing some type 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 exactly 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 just criminals but additionally government agencies are, with or minus the understanding of manufacturers, rigging products to spy on the end-user. They gather plenty of information which has nothing in connection with a legitimate target they are after is ignored. Everything is stored for future use. Now with the Internet of Things, IoT, it is more important than ever before to implement proper security. Still it is not a warranty as other events show how shady agencies influence companies to weaken their product security to permit them easy access. Open-source hardware and software is advancing thanks to the cooperation of worldwide communities of individuals 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 if such progress is unwanted it can’t be stopped without destroying the internet since it is and turning the planet into one big surveillance state. Crime in every 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 would benefit only the few who’ve a different agenda and need 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” news media outlets. Add to that infiltration of organizations along with other entities and we are 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 is accomplished beside making a potential situation worse by pre-emptive strikes, corrupting press for hidden agendas and spreading distrust in society by more infiltrations? By knowing the why and who society can determine if this 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 really is considered to be 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 interest 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 main point is that there is no more accountability for the people 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. A lot of the developed countries, particularly the ones growing into the “developed” club, certainly have such secret courts. The troublesome part, beside legality, is the 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 even companies trying to dominate section of that job. As more and more people get “connected”, like on the Internet, their activities become noticeable to those who want 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 prospect of getting dubbed a potentially disruptive influence by someone. Now with all the newest technologies you can easily get tagged as a threat but almost impossible to fight against it or even know such entry exists in some database. The broader powers the govporation complex gets the more entities will be branded as a potential threat. 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 as a journalist.
Weaponized Urban Drones
Amazon has announced that it’ll be delivering products bought by its customers through drones. That could or might not become reality, but it clearly demonstrates that this commercial behemoth thinks it 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 many governmental agencies already are 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 found in military operations but rather the compact type with an increase of features fitting an urban setting. Perhaps a first step to robocops of the future with the authority of a real 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 etc. 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 along with 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 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 each major event like 9/11, wars in countries like Afghanistan, Iraq, regional bloody revolutions with or without foreign influence, we do just what we have to not do; sacrifice liberties we fought so difficult for in the past merely to get yourself a false sense of security. That sort 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 instead of just fighting the outward symptoms as usual. If you still think after all what has happened up to now and leaked to the public there is still no reason going to the alarm button then nothing else will probably change your view until it 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 the while there were 275 crypto currencies in existence by 2014. One clear trend you can actually notice is their popularity is steadily increasing. The market capitalization is a wonderful indicator of this although it is a bumpy ride with all the current 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 aren’t controlled by any government or entity. It really is another example of how people push back by starting to develop and offer alternatives to something which will not serve them anymore.
Cash Limits & Debt Increasing
Most developed countries, governments, float nowadays on credit while a growing amount of citizens tell you 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 really follow his free will. The primary concern of the individual involved will be to stick to the existing job, not rock the boat at all and feel the daily grind to guarantee the debt repayments happen. One very effective way of control would be to have greater burdens on everybody’s shoulders. To help keep that control it is important for those in capacity 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 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 all over 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 many people in stable communities. That in itself could be bad or good if it awakens visitors 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 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 very 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 groups of mixed ethnic origin are fighting with government forces and each other.
– 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 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 bit of Iraq.
– Iraq, fighting the war against IS, assisted by a global coalition consisting of the united states, Arab countries, Iran and the EU. Religious violence between Sunnis and Shiites is also increasing.
– The Philippines where Moro people continue their struggle for independence.
– Somalia continues to have problems arising out of fighting between the rebel Al-Shabaab group and the federal government forces. Part of it really is spilling over to surrounding countries.
– South Sudan, created as a new country in 2010 2010 2010. You can find two wars going on. Fight between the ex-vice president’s and the president’s forces is among the conflicts. While the presidential force is also engaged in supporting autonomy struggles of two provinces in neighboring Sudan.
– North Korea and South Korea, occasional skirmishes and technically still in war.
– Yemen, rebel groups fighting 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 likely to see new conflict in regions or countries where conflict is not directly expected. Economic disparities will always be reasons for flare-ups throughout history. Now that the BRICS countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) break right into the “developed” countries club one must anticipate serious friction over market, influence, resources and territory. Internal conflicts, within countries, sometimes differ but often it involves a combination of one or more of the following causes: poor economy, corruption, police state, religious tensions, foreign influence, oppression, unpopular politics, extreme difference poor vs rich, racial inequality. The same kind of story for humanity as you might be thinking, just another flavor and color.
Corporate Influence on the Internet & ICANN
There are major developments in the digital world that indicate the increasing dominance of major corporations on the internet. They are closely dealing 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 brief introduction:
” To reach another person on the net you have to type an address into your personal computer – a name or perhaps a number. That address should be unique so computers know how to locate each other. ICANN coordinates these unique identifiers around 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 individuals from around the globe 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 web. It cannot stop spam and it doesn’t deal with access to the web. But through its coordination role of the Internet’s naming system, it does have an important effect on the expansion and evolution of the Internet. “
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 once 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 because of this article to go over the limits of “free market” by those who control it but rest assured we will do so in a new article. Giant corporations like Facebook, Google, Amazon and others plan to provide internet services to poor regions on the globe where there is none or hard to obtain online. Of-course it isn’t just because it creates their heart warm but they wish to also decide what people pay, see, do and get on “their” version of the internet. 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 great pressure from the corporate lobby. So you may want to have a look at how this is arranged in your country if at all.