Governance of countries, throughout history, has always depended on monitoring and tracking its citizens. Common people within 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 into the lives of common people and their personal details. Add to that another powerful entity, the corporations, who in 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 in their life.
The line between governments and corporations is fading away. This is not a prediction but an undeniable fact which is happening around the globe. The govporation use and deploy whatever it can to help keep the status quo regardless of the increasing gap between the common people and the few who own almost anything. Despite all the negativity most of us see, hear and read, there are always people within governments and corporations who do not agree with certain actions or policies. Hopefully that they can bring differ from the within 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 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 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, 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 were not on the mind 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 the other. It’s in your house, office, outside “watching” you and even on your body as a wearable. More worrisome is the rise of intelligent mobile technology that’s 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 seize additional power and access. Look around you and see what is going on while reading this to comprehend we are not seeing a decrease 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 to life and limb. We will check out several current and upcoming developments which impact the non-public world of the “commoner”. The pressures to stop personal data will undoubtedly be immense and relentless. A significant 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 familiar with new developments and their consequences. As somebody once said; eternal vigil is the price one has to cover to maintain freedom. You do not want to reside in an Orwellian world where “big brother” watches your every move! Boundaries of one’s privacy have to be guarded zealously.
Assuming by default that everyone is a threat and therefor justifying total surveillance and control of individuals is not the way to go. It opens a huge 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 similar to the world keeps changing. When, not if, we enter another dark period in human history it will be a digital disaster as all the data gathered is now available at the hands of evil. Innocent data will not exist, it is only a matter of the proper time and the incorrect hands to turn it 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 can be used to narrow down targets that require to be watched for any specific reason. The reason may be good or bad, the method itself is flawed and will cause a lot of visitors to land in databases where they don’t belong. The section of gathering data from as many 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 supplies the tools to control this “big data” you will see 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 info 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 if multiple sets of data are employed. For example, the passport documents of many countries now routinely are the fingerprint information but iris scan data and face recognition data are making an introduction too. Today the Canadian government uses the US biometric database as well as what they have to determine the desirability of a person to enter the country. 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 some one at specific places within the country 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 find automatically identified as an unhealthy person grounding your travel plans or worse. Remember, countries, corporations and others are linking more and more of their databases to form a giant worldwide database where a lot of folks have access. Some with not good intentions.
Everyone, Everywhere, Anytime
Think about the recent spate of news concerning the NSA snooping. Although for some people this was not a surprise, for other people who always called worried citizens tinfoil crazies, it really is embarrassing by all of the revelations concerning the widespread mass surveillance. Not only have they been monitoring domestic citizens, they are 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 data 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 merely the NSA, basically any similar agency in other countries does the same. Where possible they cooperate with others or go at it alone. Plenty of their operations aren’t reported to their own governments or only limited by a few people that are not allowed to state much. Among the reasons is that public figures will keep claiming you’ll find nothing to be worried about and life goes on for the common 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 reading 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 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 applies to exchanging data but additionally storing data on an area computer ranging 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. This is encouraging but not enough, especially the dominating corporations will always find a way to breach that trust while at the same time enjoy protection from their friends in governments. Recent, leaked, information demonstrates hardware may be the new priority target to intercept data. Not only criminals but also government agencies are, with or minus the knowledge of manufacturers, rigging products to spy on the end-user. That 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 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 permit them easy access. Open-source hardware and software is advancing thanks to the cooperation of worldwide communities of people 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 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 planet into one big surveillance state. Crime in all its forms and shapes will be part of humanity to handle, 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 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” press outlets. Increase that infiltration of organizations and other entities and we have been another step nearer to perfect Orwellian societies. Cyber strikes aren’t as visible to the mass so they do not appear to be important enough to question or consider even though they get reported. Some media outlets spread disinformation on command, another exemplory case 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 is actually the world we want to reside in or do we have to make changes.
More Secret Courts
Here we take as an example 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. There exists a review process to appeal decisions of the FISA court but they are few and far between. coincapcentral has gone in appeal to 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 is to stop terrorism and protect people which alone is logical. The main point is that there is forget about accountability for individuals in this technique. These warrants are bound to increase and specific judges of FISA are likely to be amenable to issuing more of the authorizations. The authorizations often allow massive levels of data to be supplied to the NSA along with 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. That is happening especially in the countries which always boast about their democracy and indicate others which are not. Most of the developed countries, specially the ones growing into the “developed” club, certainly have such secret courts. The troublesome part, beside legality, may be the usage of such data for more control and economic espionage on everyone. The old mission to safeguard 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 beneath the scanner of government agencies and even companies trying to take over part of that job. As increasing numbers of people get “connected”, like on the web, their activities become noticeable to those who wish to monitor and track them. How or on which basis any entity is dubbed a “potential threat” is often a subjective thing. Unless these decision makers have strict checks and balances, there will be higher prospect of getting dubbed a potentially disruptive influence by someone. Now with all the current newest technologies you can easily get tagged as a threat but 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 undoubtedly 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 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. Which could or might not become reality, but it clearly demonstrates that this commercial behemoth thinks it is feasible. Drones that have capacity to reach the required addresses are feasible today. However, authorities in different countries have 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 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. These are not the type of heavily armed drones used in military operations but instead the compact type with more features fitting an urban setting. Perhaps an initial step to robocops of the future with the authority of a genuine cop. Around this writing there are several 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 along with 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 and 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 fast changing with each negative event accelerating certain unpopular agendas. Not saying 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 have to 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 instead of just fighting the symptoms as usual. If you still think after all what has happened so far and leaked to the general public there is still no reason to hit the alarm button then nothing else is going to change your view until it really is too late. Perhaps it is too late.
The Rise Of Crypto Currencies
Several crypto currencies attended into existence during the last few years. Bitcoin is the most well-known of the while there have been 275 crypto currencies in existence by 2014. One clear trend you can actually notice is their popularity is steadily increasing. The marketplace capitalization is a great indicator of this although it is a bumpy ride with all the speculators involved. The Bitcoin market cap is currently around $4.3 billion, Ripple as a second reaches $774 million and Litecoin as a third at $96 million. With economic and political issues affecting various countries on earth, more people begin to hedge their bets on the national currencies and use these crypto currencies that aren’t controlled by any government or entity. It really is another exemplory case of how people push back by starting to develop and provide alternatives to a system which does 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 cover 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 existing job, not rock the boat at all and go through the daily grind to ensure 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 vital for those in power to restrict means of trading which cannot be easily monitored, taxed and controlled. God forbid people to actually skip the middleman and deal directly with each other and change the machine 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. As of 2015 the rise of conflict areas in per year is worrying since elements of such are starting to discover a way into the daily life of several people in stable communities. That in itself 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 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 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 in 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 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 piece 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 can be increasing.
– The Philippines where Moro people continue their struggle for independence.
– Somalia continues to possess problems arising out of fighting between your rebel Al-Shabaab group and the federal government forces. Part of it really is spilling to surrounding countries.
– South Sudan, created as a fresh country in 2010 2010 2010. There are two wars going on. Fight between the ex-vice president’s and the president’s forces is one of the conflicts. As the presidential force 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 the majority 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. 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, yet 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 dealing with multiple governments on policies, shared projects and sharing data. Most willingly cooperate despite knowing that some of what they are 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 you should understand what ICANN is, taken 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 needs to be unique so computers know where to find 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. This can be a not-for-profit partnership of people from around the globe dedicated to keeping the web secure, stable and interoperable. It promotes competition and develops policy on the Internet’s unique identifiers. ICANN doesn’t control content online. It cannot stop spam and it doesn’t deal with 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 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 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 benefit from this but again those that are able it in wealth and power will applaud it. It is too much for this article to go over the limits of “free market” by those who control it but rest assured we will do so in a fresh article. Giant corporations like Facebook, Google, Amazon among others plan to provide internet services to poor regions on the planet where there’s 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 for the internet 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 great pressure from the corporate lobby. So you might want to take a look at how this is arranged in your country if at all.