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 set 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 in to the lives of common people and their personal details. Increase that another powerful entity, the corporations, who within their pursuit of holy profit have tried to read customer behavior to ensure their profit targets are met. History shows businesses and governing powers have often done common agenda. Increasingly bypassing laws intended to protect people from unreasonable interference within their life.
The line between governments and corporations is fading away. This is not a prediction but a fact which is happening around the globe. The govporation will use and deploy whatever it could to keep the status quo despite the increasing gap between your common people and the few who own almost everything. 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. We hope that they can bring differ 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 developed into global digital community in which a large percentage of people and devices are connected to this entity called the Internet. One of the ways the web enriches our lives is that we can reach anyone on 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 daily life. When it started, it had been a tool for collaboration between researchers and security issues weren’t on your brain map of developers. Any security mechanisms that we build today are retrofits trying to cover the gaps. The web, or the web to be short, reaches into most modern devices in one 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 is potentially high-risk whether you are in the home or outside jogging in the park.
Several social-political trends indicate why those in power and in the monitoring / tracking business will seek to grab additional power and access. Look around you and see the proceedings 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 be justified through certain, man-made, events and technical developments. The threat isn’t just to privacy anymore but alive and limb. We will take a look at several current and upcoming developments which impact the non-public world of the “commoner”. The pressures to give up personal data will undoubtedly 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 will have to be enacted, you will 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 don’t want to live in an Orwellian world where “your government” watches your every move! Boundaries of your privacy ought 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 which 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 nice 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 of 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 wrong 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 can be used to narrow down targets that require to be watched for 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 don’t belong. The part of gathering data from as much sources as possible and automatically utilize it to categorize people is asking for problems. Now that humongous levels of data could be easily analyzed and computer technology supplies the tools to control this “big data” there will be increasing pressure to mix databases from many sources. Data gathered from government branches, commercial parties to non-profit organizations providing another piece of the puzzle about your daily life. With the technologies on the market, 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 would be to help determine the identity of people in an authentic manner, particularly when multiple sets of data are employed. For example, 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 besides what they need to determine the desirability of an individual to enter the united states. Sadly enough the use of biometric data is now also applied on the streets and by alternative party organizations for different uses. Think about identifying some one at specific places within the 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 lot of false positives. You can get automatically identified as an undesirable 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
Think about the recent spate of news concerning the NSA snooping. Although for a lot of this was not just a surprise, for other people 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 far away. No doubt, the extensive availability of internet technologies and the reach of the web 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 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. A lot of their operations are not reported with their own governments or only limited to a few people that are not allowed to state much. Among the reasons is that public figures will keep claiming there is 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 level of secret agencies it goes beyond the known horizon. Many people are a target, just by reading this article you are probably already being monitored and categorized in a few database. Sorry to break it to you.
Hardware Bigger Target
There is a trend that 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 an area computer which range from tablets, phones, desktops to servers. The awakening of the general public is now also forcing plenty 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 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 only criminals but additionally government agencies are, with or minus the understanding of manufacturers, rigging products to spy on the end-user. They gather a huge amount 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 really is more important than ever before 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 allow them easy access. Open-source hardware and software is advancing because of 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 can’t be stopped without destroying the web 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’ve a different agenda and have to spread fear to keep people in line serving them.
Increase of Cyber Strikes, Disinformation & Infiltration
It seems to be getting normal to attack first and investigate later as that’s “always” the best defense against those pesky enemies of the state; 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 and other entities and we have been another step closer to perfect Orwellian societies. Cyber strikes are not as noticeable 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’s accomplished beside creating 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 is actually the world we want to live in or do we have to make changes.
More Secret Courts
Here we take as an example 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 considered to be 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 they are few and far between. Not one case has gone in interest the Supreme court. This is 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 alone is logical. The point is that there is forget about accountability for the people in this process. These warrants are bound to increase and specific judges of FISA are likely to be amenable to issuing more of these authorizations. The authorizations often allow massive amounts of data to be supplied to the NSA along with other agencies by telecom operators. In its rulings the court often takes on questions about constitutional validity and delivers interpretations which never undergo any public scrutiny. This is happening especially in the countries which always boast about their democracy and point to others which are not. coincapcentral of the developed countries, specially the ones growing into the “developed” club, certainly have such secret courts. The troublesome part, beside legality, may be the use of such data for more control and economic espionage on everyone. The old mission to protect and serve the people is apparently getting less important with each passing year.
More Threat Branding
It is no secret that lots of entities come under the scanner of government agencies and also companies trying to take over part of that job. As more and more people get “connected”, like online, their activities become noticeable to those who want to monitor and track them. How or on what basis any entity is dubbed a “potential threat” is usually a subjective thing. Unless these decision makers have strict checks and balances, you will see higher prospect of getting dubbed a potentially disruptive influence by someone. Now with all the current newest technologies it is easy to get tagged as a threat but extremely difficult to fight against it as well as know such entry exists in some database. The broader powers the govporation complex gets the more entities will 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 will 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 capability to reach the required addresses are feasible today. However, authorities in various countries need to finalize regulations governing flying drones in urban airspace before commercial projects could launch. You can easily realize that the various governmental agencies are already 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 type of heavily armed drones used in military operations but rather 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 etc. A drone built 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. 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 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 effect it is wearing liberties and how some powerful groups benefit from 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 have to not do; sacrifice liberties we fought so difficult for in the past just to get yourself a false sense of security. That type of flawed logic has helped increase the monitoring, tracking, limiting freedom of citizens and increasing the power of the govporation because of its own agenda. 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. 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 probably change your view until it really is too late. Perhaps it really is too late.
The Rise Of Crypto Currencies
Several crypto currencies attended into existence during the last few years. Bitcoin may be the most well-known of the while there were 275 crypto currencies in existence as of 2014. One clear trend you can easily notice is their popularity is steadily increasing. The marketplace capitalization is a great indicator of this though it is a bumpy ride with all the current 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 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 is another example 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 an increasing amount of citizens tell you their credit limits and start 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 adhere to the current job, not rock the boat at all and feel the daily grind to ensure the debt repayments happen. One very effective method of control would be to have greater burdens on everybody’s shoulders. To help keep that control it is necessary for those in capacity to restrict means of trading which can’t be easily monitored, taxed and controlled. God forbid visitors to actually miss the middleman and deal directly with one another and change the system from within.
Worldwide Increase of Conflicts
By the end of year 2013, The Heidelberg Institute for International Conflict Research (HIIK) reported the existence of some 400 conflicts worldwide. At least 20 of the fit the category war. By 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 can be bad or good if it awakens visitors to reality and see why these things happen, the story in it and not just a symptom 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 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 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 bit of Iraq.
– Iraq, fighting 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 is also 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 is spilling over to surrounding countries.
– South Sudan, created as a fresh country this year 2010 2010. You can find two wars going on. Fight between the ex-vice president’s and the president’s forces is probably 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 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 have always been 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 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 kind of story for humanity as you might be thinking, yet another flavor and color.
Corporate Influence online & ICANN
There are major developments in the digital world that indicate the increasing dominance of major corporations online. They are closely dealing with multiple governments on policies, shared projects and sharing data. Most willingly cooperate despite realizing 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 very important understand what ICANN is, taken from the ICANN website a brief 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 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. It is a not-for-profit partnership of individuals from worldwide 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 net. It cannot stop spam also it doesn’t deal with access to the Internet. But through its coordination role of the Internet’s naming system, it can have an important effect on the expansion and evolution of the web. “
Now with the push for ICANN to remove itself from governmental oversight to a far more corporate setting it is even more worrying for future years of the internet as it exists now. Of-course it is currently choosing between your lesser of evils until hopefully an improved solution is found. We’ve seen what happens once the so called “free market” gets control, often people will not reap the benefits of this but again those that are able it in wealth and power will applaud it. It really is too much because of this article to go over the limits of “free market” by those who control it but be confident we will achieve this in a fresh article. Giant corporations like Facebook, Google, Amazon among others intend to provide internet services to poor regions on the globe where there is none or hard to obtain 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 online as it is now. That is also why some countries went ahead to fix net neutrality by law, even though some implemented a weak version of it under pressure from the corporate lobby. So you might want to take a look at how that is arranged in your country if at all.