Governance of countries, throughout history, has always depended on monitoring and tracking its citizens. Common people in their effort to protect 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 into the lives of common people and their personal details. Add to that another powerful entity, the corporations, who in 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 done common agenda. Increasingly bypassing laws intended to protect people from unreasonable interference in 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 keep the status quo regardless of the increasing gap between the common people and the few who own almost everything. Despite all the negativity we all see, hear and read, you can find always people within governments and corporations who do not trust certain actions or policies. Hopefully 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 point to a whole government or corporation and say everyone inside it is 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 connected to this entity called the web. One of the ways the Internet enriches our lives is that we 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 life. When it started, it had been an instrument for collaboration between researchers and security issues weren’t on your brain map of developers. Any security mechanisms that we build today are retrofits attempting to cover the gaps. The web, or the web to be short, reaches into modern devices in a single way or the other. It’s in your house, office, outside “watching” you and even on your own body as a wearable. More worrisome may be the rise of intelligent mobile technology that’s 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 what is going on while reading this to understand we have been 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 is not just to privacy anymore but alive and limb. We will check out several current and upcoming developments which impact the non-public world of the “commoner”. The pressures to stop 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 will have to be enacted, you need 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 live in an Orwellian world where “your government” watches your every move! Boundaries of one’s privacy need to be guarded zealously.
Assuming by default that many people are a threat and therefor justifying total surveillance and control of individuals is not the way to go. It opens a giant can of worms that is a guaranteed ticket to a society we usually do not want. One reason is human nature as demonstrated countless times by history, not discussing the 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 a digital disaster as all the data gathered is now offered by the hands of evil. Innocent data does not exist, it is just a matter of the proper time and the wrong hands to turn it into a weapon.
Automated Multi Source Profiling
Automated multi source profiling is currently part of daily life whether you like it or not. Such profiling is used to narrow down targets that require to be watched for just about any specific reason. The reason could be good or bad, the method itself is flawed and will cause a lot of people to land in databases where they do not belong. The section of gathering data from as much sources as you possibly can and automatically utilize it to categorize people is asking for problems. Now that humongous amounts of data could be easily analyzed and computer technology provides the tools to control 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 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 just because it is possible.
Biometric Data Sharing
The use 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 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 need to determine the desirability of a person to enter the country. Sadly enough the use of biometric data is currently also applied on the streets and by third party organizations for different uses. Think of identifying some one at specific places within the united states and saving that information for later use. This 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 can aquire automatically identified as an unhealthy person grounding your travel plans or worse. Remember, countries, corporations and others are linking a growing number of of their databases to create 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 about the NSA snooping. Although for some people this was not just a surprise, for other people who always called worried citizens tinfoil crazies, it 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 web have made these activities possible. That some well-known whistle-blowers could access the data acquired by NSA, is really a testimony that even intelligence agencies have difficulties protecting their operations and data against the human factor. It’s of-course not merely the NSA, basically any similar agency in other countries does the same. Where possible they cooperate with others or go at it alone. Lots 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 be worried about and life continues 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 however when it comes to the amount of secret agencies it goes beyond the known horizon. Everyone is a target, just by scanning this article you’re probably already being monitored and categorized in a few database. Sorry to break it for you.
Hardware Bigger Target
There is a trend that is slowly finding its solution to the general public to use encryption software to secure data rather than leaving it in the clear. This goes for exchanging data but additionally storing data on an area computer which range from tablets, phones, desktops to servers. The awakening of everyone is now also forcing lots of companies to start implementing some kind of encryption and privacy rules. This is encouraging however, not enough, especially the dominating corporations will always find a way to breach that trust while at the same time enjoy protection from their friends in governments. Recent, leaked, information implies that hardware is the new priority target to intercept data. Not only criminals but also 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 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 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 quick access. Open-source hardware and software is advancing because of 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 though 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 every its forms and shapes will always be part of humanity to handle, so using this as grounds 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 seems to be getting normal to attack first and investigate later as that is “always” the very best defense against those pesky enemies of hawaii; pre-emptive cyber strikes against other countries are increasing while disinformation has been spread through “bought” press outlets. Increase that infiltration of organizations along with other entities and we have been another step closer to perfect Orwellian societies. Cyber strikes are not as visible to the mass so they do not seem to be important enough to question or consider even though they get reported. Some media outlets spread disinformation on command, another example 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 here 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 that 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 appeal to the Supreme court. It 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 official story is to stop terrorism and protect people which alone is logical. The 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 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. That is happening especially in the countries which always boast about their democracy and point to others which are not. Lots of the developed countries, particularly the ones growing into the “developed” club, certainly have such secret courts. The troublesome part, beside legality, is the use of such data for more control and economic espionage on everyone. The old mission to safeguard and serve the people seems to be getting less important with each passing year.
More Threat Branding
It is no secret that many entities come under the scanner of government agencies and also companies trying to dominate section of that job. As increasing numbers of people get “connected”, like on the web, their activities become visible to those who would like 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 newest technologies it is easy to get tagged as a threat but almost impossible 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 that a “threat” could be based on economic motivation or perhaps asking the “wrong” questions, even while a journalist.
Weaponized Urban Drones
Amazon has announced that it’ll be delivering products bought by its customers through drones. That may or might not become reality, but it clearly demonstrates that commercial behemoth thinks it is feasible. Drones that have capacity to reach the desired 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 many 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 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 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 forth. A drone built with high-definition cameras and other light spectrum modes can quickly identify targets in real-time connected to some mainframe. Several experts conclude there is an increasing trend of militarizing police forces and extending their capability with drones. Your day may not be far off when police drones can launch missiles along with other projectiles on a crowd in its mission area, in your backyard rather than in a a long way 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 result 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 exactly what we ought to not do; sacrifice liberties we fought so difficult for in the past merely to get 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. 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 rather than just fighting the symptoms as usual. In the event that you still think in the end what has happened so far and leaked to the general public there is still no reason going to the alarm button then nothing else will change your view until it really is too late. Perhaps Bitcoin Revolution 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 as of 2014. One clear trend you can actually notice is their popularity is steadily increasing. The market capitalization is a good 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 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 work with these crypto currencies that are not controlled by any government or entity. It is another exemplory case of how people push back by starting to develop and provide alternatives to a system which will not serve them anymore.
Cash Limits & Debt Increasing
Most developed countries, governments, float nowadays on credit while 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 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 help keep that control it is necessary for those in power to restrict means of trading which can’t be easily monitored, taxed and controlled. God forbid people to actually miss the middleman and deal directly with each other 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 all over the world. At least 20 of the fit the category war. By 2015 the rise of conflict areas in a year is worrying since elements of such are starting to discover a way into the daily life of several people in stable communities. That in itself could be bad or good if it awakens visitors to reality and see why these exact things happen, the story behind them and not just an indicator out of the blue. The next is really a limited list, in no particular order, of major ongoing conflicts which will keep growing:
– Democratic Republic of Congo, where in fact the army of the ruling government is fighting with the M23 rebel group and religious tensions are flaring up between Christians and Muslims.
– Mali, where Islamist rebels are actively wanting to take over the 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 within their try to introduce Sharia law, keeps attacking moderate Muslims and Christians.
– Sudan, where sets of mixed ethnic origin are fighting with government forces and one another.
– The long bloody conflict between Israel and Palestine with no real solution in sight.
– Afghanistan, remains a war zone of fighting between government forces, assisted by the 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, 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 is also 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 over to surrounding countries.
– South Sudan, created as a fresh country this year 2010 2010. There are two wars going on. Fight between your ex-vice president’s and the president’s forces is probably 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 against the central government blended with terror groups using the country as their base of operations.
Although almost all of the above conflict areas have a long violent history it is likely 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. Now that the BRICS countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) break into the “developed” countries club one must anticipate serious friction over market, influence, resources and territory. Internal conflicts, within countries, sometimes differ but often it involves a combination of one or more of the next causes: poor economy, corruption, police state, religious tensions, foreign influence, oppression, unpopular politics, extreme difference poor vs rich, racial inequality. The same 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 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 it is important to understand what ICANN is, extracted from the ICANN website a short introduction:
” To reach another person online you must 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 across the world. Without that coordination we wouldn’t have one global Internet. ICANN was formed in 1998. This can be a not-for-profit partnership of individuals from all over the world dedicated to keeping the web secure, stable and interoperable. It promotes competition and develops policy on the Internet’s unique identifiers. ICANN doesn’t control content on the net. 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 can have an important impact on the expansion and evolution of the Internet. “
Now with the push for ICANN to eliminate 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 really is currently choosing between the lesser of evils until hopefully an improved solution is found. We have seen what happens once the so called “free market” gets control, often people will not benefit from this but again those that can afford 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 rest assured we will achieve this in a fresh article. Giant corporations like Facebook, Google, Amazon among others intend to provide internet services to poor regions in the world where there’s none or hard to obtain online. Of-course it is not just because it creates their heart warm but they wish to also decide what folks pay, see, do and get on “their” version of the internet. Exactly like what the lobby of corporate groups wants for the internet as it is now. This 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 might want to take a look at how that is arranged in your country if at all.