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 create a boundary to what could be monitored and snooped. This boundary has kept shifting; particularly advancements in technology have always managed to get possible to reach further in to the lives of common people and their personal stats. Increase that another powerful entity, the corporations, who within their quest for 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 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 everywhere. The govporation will 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, 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 within by doing whatever they are able to to steer the ship to a better destiny. One cannot indicate 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 in which a large percentage of individuals and devices are connected to this entity called the web. One of the ways the web enriches our lives is that we can reach anyone on this net wherever they are. But then, do not forget that if 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 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 one way or the other. It’s in your house, office, outside “watching” you or even on your body as a wearable. More worrisome is the rise of intelligent mobile technology that is potentially high-risk whether you’re at home or outside jogging in the park.
Several social-political trends indicate why those in power and in the monitoring / tracking business will seek to grab additional power and access. Look around you and see the proceedings while reading this to understand we have been not seeing a loss of threats to people everywhere but an increase. The additional capacity to monitor your lives in-depth will undoubtedly be justified through certain, man-made, events and technical developments. The threat is not just to privacy anymore but to life and limb. We will have a look at several current and upcoming developments which impact the personal world of the “commoner”. The pressures to stop personal data will undoubtedly be immense and relentless. A significant defense for the people is awareness and make an effort to set the boundary which governments, corporate bodies or anyone else 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 don’t want to reside in an Orwellian world where “big brother” watches your every move! Boundaries of your privacy should be guarded zealously.
Assuming by default that many people are 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 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 a digital disaster as all the data gathered is now offered by 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 right 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 need to be watched for any specific reason. The reason could be good or bad, the technique itself is flawed and can cause a lot of visitors to land in databases where they don’t belong. The part of gathering data from as many 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” you will see increasing pressure to combine databases from many sources. Data gathered from government branches, commercial parties to non-profit organizations providing another piece of the puzzle about your life. With the technologies on the market, it will be easy to collect, merge and manage the data about an individual. That is collected without reason, innocent or not, for profit or simply because it is possible.
Biometric Data Sharing
Using 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 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 along with what they need to determine the desirability of a person to enter the united states. Sadly enough using biometric data is currently also applied on the streets and by third party organizations for different uses. Think of identifying somebody at specific places within the united states and saving that information for later use. This does not target international travelers anymore, but everyone within borders could be remotely identified by face recognition camera’s without reason. Many experts have accused biometric data of raising a large percentage of false positives. You can 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 folks have access. Some with not good intentions.
Everyone, Everywhere, Anytime
Think about the recent spate of news about the NSA snooping. Although for a lot of this was not a surprise, for other people who always called worried citizens tinfoil crazies, it really is embarrassing by all of 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 Internet have made these activities possible. That some well-known whistle-blowers could access the info 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 far away does exactly 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 can 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. Many people are 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 utilize encryption software to secure data instead of leaving it in the clear. This goes for exchanging data but also storing data on a local computer which range from tablets, phones, desktops to servers. The awakening of the general public is now also forcing lots of companies to start implementing some type of encryption and privacy rules. That is encouraging but not enough, especially the dominating corporations will always discover 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 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 are 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 allow them quick access. Open-source hardware and software is advancing thanks to the cooperation of worldwide communities of people and is an alternative to “blackboxes”. Coupled 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 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 could benefit only the few who have a different agenda and need 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 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” press outlets. Add to that infiltration of organizations along with other entities and we have been another step nearer to perfect Orwellian societies. Cyber strikes aren’t as noticeable to the mass so they 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’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 here is 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 are argued by the government only. There is a review process to appeal decisions of the FISA court but they are few and far between. Not just 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 individuals 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 amounts of data to be supplied to the NSA and other agencies by telecom operators. In its rulings the court often takes on questions about constitutional validity and delivers interpretations which never undergo any public scrutiny. That is happening especially in the countries which always boast about their democracy and indicate others which are not. 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 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 even 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 which basis any entity is dubbed a “potential threat” is usually 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 as well as know such entry exists in a few database. The broader powers the govporation complex gets the more entities will be branded as a potential threat. By now everyone who critically followed worldwide developments can predict a “threat” could be based on economic motivation or perhaps asking the “wrong” questions, even as a journalist.
Weaponized Urban Drones
Amazon has announced that it will be delivering products bought by its customers through drones. Which could or might not become reality, nonetheless it clearly demonstrates that commercial behemoth thinks it is feasible. Drones that have capacity 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. It is easy to realize that the many governmental agencies already are increasing the urban use of flying drones for surveillance and monitoring purposes. Beside that it plays a part in mass-surveillance, a worrying development is arming drones with lethal and non-lethal weapons for use against civilians. They are not the kind of heavily armed drones found in military operations but instead 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 numerous companies already offering armed drones for crowd control with pepper-spray, rubber bullets, blinding lasers, ear-piercing audio etc. A drone equipped with high-definition cameras along with other light spectrum modes can easily 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 and not in a far 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 effect it has on 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 hard for in the past just to get 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 for its own agenda. What we should be doing is find the real cause of why a conflict or event happened to begin with and learn from it instead of just fighting the symptoms as usual. If you still think in the end what has happened up to now and leaked to the general 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 is too late.
The Rise Of Crypto Currencies
Several crypto currencies have come into existence during the last few years. Bitcoin may be the most well-known of the while there were 275 crypto currencies around by 2014. One clear trend you can easily notice is their popularity is steadily increasing. The market capitalization is a superb indicator of this though it is a bumpy ride with 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 in the world, more people start to hedge their bets on the national currencies and use these crypto currencies that are not controlled by any government or entity. It really is another example of how people rebel 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 cover the rotating credit repayments. The bigger this burden, the lesser may be 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 feel the daily grind to ensure the debt repayments happen. One very effective way of control is to have greater burdens on everybody’s shoulders. To keep that control it is important for those in capacity to restrict ways of trading which cannot be easily monitored, taxed and controlled. God forbid people to actually skip 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 everywhere. At least 20 of these fit the category war. As of 2015 the rise of conflict areas in per year is worrying since components of such are starting to discover a way into the daily life of many people in stable communities. That alone could be bad or good if it awakens people to reality and see why these things happen, the story behind them and not just an indicator out of the blue. The next 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 own Republic states backed by Russia.
– Nigeria, where terror group Boko Haram within their attempt to introduce Sharia law, keeps attacking moderate Muslims and Christians.
– Sudan, where sets of mixed ethnic origin are fighting with government forces and 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 taking over a considerable part including a piece of Iraq.
– Bitcoin Era Review , struggling with 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 your rebel Al-Shabaab group and the 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 your ex-vice president’s and the president’s forces is probably the conflicts. As the presidential force is also engaged in supporting autonomy struggles of two provinces in neighboring Sudan.
– North Korea and South Korea, occasional skirmishes and technically still in war.
– Yemen, rebel groups fighting contrary to the central government mixed 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 isn’t directly expected. Economic disparities will always be reasons for flare-ups throughout history. Given that the BRICS countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) break into the “developed” countries club one must anticipate serious friction over market, influence, resources and territory. Internal conflicts, within countries, sometimes differ but often it involves a variety 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 kind of story for humanity as you might be thinking, yet another flavor and color.
Corporate Influence on the web & ICANN
There are major developments in the digital world that indicate the increasing dominance of major corporations online. They are closely working with multiple governments on policies, shared projects and sharing data. Most willingly cooperate despite knowing 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, extracted from the ICANN website a brief introduction:
” To reach another person online you have to type an address into your personal computer – a name or a number. That address must be unique so computers know how to locate one another. ICANN coordinates these unique identifiers across the world. Without that coordination we wouldn’t have one global Internet. ICANN was formed in 1998. It is a not-for-profit partnership of individuals 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 on the net. It cannot stop spam also it doesn’t deal with usage of the Internet. But through its coordination role of the Internet’s naming system, it does 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 more corporate setting it is even more worrying for future years of the internet since 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 when 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 that control it but rest assured we will achieve this in a new article. Giant corporations like Facebook, Google, Amazon among others plan to provide internet services to poor regions on earth where there’s none or hard to obtain online. Of-course it isn’t just because it makes their heart warm however they wish to also decide what people pay, see, do and get on “their” version of the web. Exactly like what the lobby of corporate groups wants online as it is now. That is also why some countries went ahead to repair net neutrality by law, even though some implemented a weak version of it under great pressure from the corporate lobby. So you may want to take a look at how that is arranged in your country if at all.