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 create a boundary to what could be monitored and snooped. This boundary has kept shifting; particularly advancements in technology have always made it possible to reach further in to the lives of common people and their personal stats. Increase that another powerful entity, the corporations, who in their pursuit of holy profit have tried to learn 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 folks from unreasonable interference in their life.
The line between governments and corporations is fading away. This is simply not a prediction but a fact which is happening around the globe. The govporation use and deploy whatever it could to help 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, there are always people within governments and corporations who usually do not agree with certain actions or policies. Hopefully that they can bring change from the inside by doing whatever they can to steer the ship to an improved 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 where 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 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 had been a tool for collaboration between researchers and security issues were not 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 modern devices in a single way or the other. It’s in your house, office, outside “watching” you or even on your own body as a wearable. More worrisome may be the rise of intelligent mobile technology that is potentially high-risk whether you’re in the home or outside jogging in the park.
Several social-political trends indicate why those in power and in the monitoring / tracking business will seek to seize additional power and access. Look around you and see the proceedings while reading this to comprehend we are not seeing a loss of threats to people everywhere but an increase. The additional power 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 check out 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. A significant defense for individuals is awareness and try to set the boundary which governments, corporate bodies or other people must respect by real laws. Suitable laws will have to be enacted, you will have to be familiar with new developments and their consequences. As somebody once said; eternal vigil may be the price one has to cover to maintain freedom. You do not want to reside in an Orwellian world where “your government” watches your every move! Boundaries of one’s 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 huge can of worms that is a guaranteed ticket to a society we do not want. One reason is human nature as demonstrated countless times by history, not talking about the good kind. Another reason is that governments come and go just like the world keeps changing. When, not if, we enter another dark period in human history it will be an electronic disaster as all the data gathered is now 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 lifestyle whether you prefer 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 technique 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 you possibly can and automatically utilize it to categorize people is asking for problems. Now that humongous levels of data can be easily analyzed and computer technology supplies the tools to manage this “big data” you will have increasing pressure to mix 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 is collected without reason, innocent or not, for profit or just because it is possible.
Biometric Data Sharing
Using biometric data is to help determine the identity of people in an authentic manner, particularly when multiple sets of data are used. For instance, 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 along with what they need to determine the desirability of an individual 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 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 undesirable 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 in which 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 a lot of this was not a surprise, for others who always called worried citizens tinfoil crazies, it is embarrassing by all of the revelations concerning the widespread mass surveillance. Not only have they been monitoring domestic citizens, they have been cited for snooping on people and political parties in other countries. No doubt, the extensive option of internet technologies and the reach of the Internet have made these activities possible. That some well-known whistle-blowers could access the data acquired by NSA, is a testimony that even intelligence agencies have difficulties protecting their operations and data contrary to the human factor. It’s of-course not merely the NSA, basically any similar agency in other countries does exactly the same. Where possible they cooperate with others or go at it alone. Plenty of their operations aren’t reported with their own governments or only limited by a few people who are not allowed to state much. One of the reasons is that public figures will keep claiming you’ll find nothing to be worried about and life goes on for the normal 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. Everyone is a target, just by reading this article you are 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 way to the general public to utilize 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 the general public is now also forcing a lot 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 the same time enjoy protection from their friends in governments. Bitcoin Era Review , 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. 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 Internet of Things, IoT, it 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 quick access. Open-source hardware and software is advancing because of 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 the through X to B. Even if such progress is unwanted it can’t be stopped without destroying the internet since it is and turning the planet into one big surveillance state. Crime in every its forms and shapes will always be part of humanity to cope with, so using this as a reason to sacrifice freedom, progress and alternatives is really a no go. Perhaps it would 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’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” press outlets. Increase that infiltration of organizations along with other entities and we are another step nearer to perfect Orwellian societies. Cyber strikes are not as noticeable to the mass so they usually do not appear to be important enough to question or consider even if they get reported. Some media outlets spread disinformation on command, another example of the govporation complex. The question is what is accomplished beside creating 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 this can be the world we want to reside in or do we have to make changes.
More Secret Courts
Here we take including 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. You will find a review process to appeal decisions of the FISA court but these are few and far between. Not one case has gone in appeal to the Supreme court. Here 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 in itself 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 levels 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, 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 many entities come beneath the scanner of government agencies and even companies trying to dominate part of that job. As more and more people get “connected”, like on the net, their activities become noticeable to those who would like 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 newest technologies it is easy to get tagged as a threat but almost impossible 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 that a “threat” could be predicated 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 may not become reality, but it clearly demonstrates that commercial behemoth thinks it really is feasible. Drones that have capability to reach the desired addresses are feasible today. However, authorities in various countries have to finalize regulations governing flying drones in urban airspace before commercial projects could launch. It is easy to realize that the many governmental agencies already are increasing the urban usage of flying drones for surveillance and monitoring purposes. Beside that it contributes to mass-surveillance, a worrying development is arming drones with lethal and non-lethal weapons for use against civilians. They are not the type 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 etc. A drone equipped with high-definition cameras along with other light spectrum modes can easily identify targets in real-time linked to some mainframe. Several experts conclude there’s a growing trend of militarizing police forces and extending their capability with drones. The 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 fast changing with each negative event speeding up 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 just what we have to not do; sacrifice liberties we fought so difficult for in the past merely 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 power of the govporation because of its own agenda. What we should be doing is find 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 up to now and leaked to the 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 really 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 these while there were 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 superb indicator of this though it is a bumpy ride with all the speculators involved. The Bitcoin market cap happens to be 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 the planet, more people start to hedge their bets on the national currencies and work with these crypto currencies that aren’t controlled by any government or entity. It really is another exemplory case of how people rebel 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 an increasing amount of citizens tell you their credit limits and begin to live to cover the rotating credit repayments. The larger this burden, the lesser is the freedom of the person to really follow his free will. The primary concern of the person involved will be to adhere to the existing job, not rock the boat at all and feel the daily grind to guarantee the debt repayments happen. One very effective way of control is 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 can’t be easily monitored, taxed and controlled. God forbid visitors to actually skip the middleman and deal directly with one another and change the 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 alone could be bad or good if it awakens visitors to reality and see why these 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 the army of the ruling government is fighting with the M23 rebel group and religious tensions are flaring up between Christians and Muslims.
– Mali, where Islamist rebels are actively seeking to take over the united states fighting against mostly French forces who intervened.
– The war between Ukraine, backed by the US/EU, against rebels in the east of Ukraine where they declared their very own Republic states backed by Russia.
– Nigeria, where terror group Boko Haram within their try to introduce Sharia law, keeps attacking moderate Muslims and Christians.
– Sudan, where groups of mixed ethnic origin are fighting with government forces and each other.
– The long bloody conflict between Israel and Palestine with no real solution in sight.
– Afghanistan, remains a war zone of fighting between government forces, assisted by the US mostly, and the Taliban.
– Unstable Pakistani border with Afghanistan and increasing drone strikes on extremist groups.
– Mexico, remains the hotbed of drug-wars, human trafficking, blackmail and smuggling by the drug cartels.
– Syria, the civil war continues to rage on with the terror group IS taking over a considerable part including a piece of Iraq.
– Iraq, struggling with the war against IS, assisted by an international coalition consisting of the united states, Arab countries, Iran and the EU. Religious violence between Sunnis and Shiites is also increasing.
– The Philippines where Moro people continue their struggle for independence.
– Somalia continues to have problems arising out of fighting between the rebel Al-Shabaab group and the government forces. Part of it is spilling 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 one of 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 against 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 expected to see new conflict in regions or countries where conflict isn’t directly expected. Economic disparities have always been known 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 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 might 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 online. They are closely working 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 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 short introduction:
” To reach another person on the web you have to type an address into your computer – a name or a number. That address must 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 everywhere dedicated to keeping the Internet secure, stable and interoperable. It promotes competition and develops policy on the Internet’s unique identifiers. ICANN doesn’t control content on the Internet. 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 a lot more worrying for the future of the internet as it exists now. Of-course it is currently choosing between the lesser of evils until hopefully a better solution is found. We’ve seen what happens when the so called “free market” gets control, often people will not benefit from this but again those that are able it in wealth and power will applaud it. It really is too much for this article to go over the limits of “free market” by those who control it but be confident we will achieve this in a new article. Giant corporations like Facebook, Google, Amazon and others plan 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 makes their heart warm however they wish to also decide what folks pay, see, do and get on “their” version of the internet. Just like what the lobby of corporate groups wants online as it is now. That is also why some countries went ahead to repair net neutrality by law, although some implemented a weak version of it under great pressure from the corporate lobby. So you may want to have a look at how that is arranged in your country if at all.