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 within their pursuit of holy profit have tried to read customer behavior to ensure their profit targets are met. History shows businesses and governing powers have often done common agenda. Increasingly bypassing laws intended to protect people from unreasonable interference within their life.
The line between governments and corporations is fading away. This is not a prediction but an undeniable fact which is happening across the world. The govporation use and deploy whatever it can to keep the status quo despite the increasing gap between your common people and the few who own almost anything. Despite all the negativity we all see, hear and read, you can find always people within governments and corporations who usually 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 an improved destiny. One cannot point to a whole government or corporation and say everyone inside it has gone out to dictate life to the rest 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 web. One of the ways the web enriches our lives is that people can reach anyone with this net wherever they are. But, do not forget that if you can reach anyone easily, others can reach you equally easily and dig into your life. When it started, it was a tool 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 web to be short, reaches into modern devices in a single way or another. It’s in your house, office, outside “watching” you or even on your body as a wearable. More worrisome may be the rise of intelligent mobile technology that is 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 grab additional power and access. Shop around you and see the proceedings while reading this to comprehend we are not seeing a decrease 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 only to privacy anymore but alive and limb. We will have a look at several current and upcoming developments which impact the personal world of the “commoner”. The pressures to give up personal data will be immense and relentless. An important defense for individuals is awareness and make an effort to set the boundary which governments, corporate bodies or anyone else must respect by real laws. Suitable laws should be enacted, you will have 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 don’t want to reside in an Orwellian world where “your government” watches your every move! Boundaries of your privacy have 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 ideal solution. 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 talking about the good 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 of the data gathered is now offered by the hands of evil. Innocent data will not exist, it is just a matter of the proper time and the incorrect hands to turn it right into a weapon.
Automated Multi Source Profiling
Automated multi source profiling is currently part of lifestyle 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 method itself is flawed and will cause a lot of visitors to land in databases where they don’t belong. The part 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 available today, 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 simply because it is possible.
Biometric Data Sharing
The usage 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 several 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 have 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 about identifying some one 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 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 get 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 create a giant worldwide database in which a lot of folks have access. Some with not so 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 others who always called worried citizens tinfoil crazies, it really is embarrassing by all of the revelations about the widespread mass surveillance. Not merely have they been monitoring domestic citizens, they are cited for snooping on people and political parties in other countries. 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 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 far away does exactly the same. Where possible they cooperate with others or go at it alone. Lots of their operations aren’t reported with their own governments or only limited by a few people that are not allowed to say much. One of the reasons is that public figures will keep claiming there is nothing to worry about and life goes on for the common man. Also traditional intelligence gathering shifted to economic intelligence to greatly help the own economy. In commercial terms it’s called business intelligence 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 are probably already being monitored and categorized in a few database. Sorry to break it to you.
Hardware Bigger Target
There is a trend that is slowly finding its 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 also storing data on a local computer ranging from tablets, phones, desktops to servers. The awakening of everyone is now also forcing lots of companies to start implementing some type of encryption and privacy rules. This is encouraging but not enough, especially the dominating corporations will always discover a way to breach that trust while at the same time enjoy protection from their friends in governments. Recent, leaked, information demonstrates hardware is the new priority target to intercept data. Not only criminals but additionally government agencies are, with or minus the knowledge of manufacturers, rigging products to spy on the end-user. They gather a huge amount of information which has nothing to do with a legitimate target they’re after is ignored. Everything is stored for future use. Now with the 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 thanks to 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’ll 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 web as it is and turning the planet into one big surveillance state. Crime in all its forms and shapes will be part of humanity to manage, so using this as a reason to sacrifice freedom, progress and alternatives is a no go. Perhaps it could 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 seems to be getting normal to attack first and investigate later as that’s “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. Add to that infiltration of organizations and other entities and we have been another step nearer to perfect Orwellian societies. Cyber strikes are not as noticeable to the mass so they 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 is actually the world we want to live in or do we have to make changes.
More Secret Courts
Here we take as an example the U.S secret courts but this is by no means the only country using such setups for specific operations. The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act or the FISA of 1978 allows a secret court to be setup. It is regarded as almost a parallel supreme court today. Here the cases are completely one sided and so are argued by the federal government only. There is a review process to appeal decisions of the FISA court but they are few and far between. Not one case has gone in appeal to the Supreme court. This can be 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 in itself is logical. The point is that there is no more accountability for individuals in this process. These warrants are bound to improve and specific judges of FISA will tend 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. This is happening especially in the countries which always boast about their democracy and point to others which are not. A lot of the developed countries, specially the ones growing in to 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 seems to be 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 also companies trying to dominate part of that job. As more and more people get “connected”, like online, their activities become noticeable to those who would like to monitor and track them. How or on what basis any entity is dubbed a “potential threat” is often a subjective thing. Unless these decision makers have strict checks and balances, you will see higher potential for 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 and 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. Right 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’ll be delivering products bought by its customers through drones. That could or might not become reality, nonetheless it clearly demonstrates that this commercial behemoth thinks it is feasible. Drones that have capability to reach the required addresses are feasible today. However, authorities in different countries need to finalize regulations governing flying drones in urban airspace before commercial projects could launch. You can easily realize that the various governmental agencies are already increasing the urban use of flying drones for surveillance and monitoring purposes. Beside that it plays a part in mass-surveillance, a worrying development is arming drones with lethal and non-lethal weapons for use against civilians. These are not the type of heavily armed drones found 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. As of this writing there are numerous companies already offering armed drones for crowd control with pepper-spray, rubber bullets, blinding lasers, ear-piercing audio etc. A drone 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. Your day may not be remote when police drones can launch missiles and other projectiles on a crowd in its mission area, in your backyard and not in a 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 saying that change is definitely bad, but we focus here on the result it is wearing liberties and how some powerful groups benefit from it. After every 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 just to get yourself a false sense of security. That sort of flawed logic has helped increase 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 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 to hit the alarm button then nothing else will probably change your view until it 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 the while there have been 275 crypto currencies around by 2014. One clear trend you can actually notice is their popularity is steadily increasing. The market capitalization is a wonderful indicator of this although it is a bumpy ride with the speculators involved. The Bitcoin market cap happens to be around $4.3 billion, Ripple as a second is at $774 million and Litecoin as a third at $96 million. With economic and political issues affecting various countries on the globe, more people start 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 example 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 a growing amount of citizens tell you their credit limits and start 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 principal concern of the individual involved will be to stick to the existing job, not rock the boat at all and feel the daily grind to ensure the debt repayments happen. One very effective method of control would be to have greater burdens on everybody’s shoulders. To keep that control it is important for those in capacity to restrict means of trading which can’t be easily monitored, taxed and controlled. God forbid people to actually skip the middleman and deal directly with one another 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. By 2015 the rise of conflict areas in a year is worrying since components of such are starting to find a way into the daily life of many people in stable communities. That in itself can 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 seeking to take over the country fighting against mostly French forces who intervened.
– The war between Ukraine, backed by the US/EU, against rebels in the east of Ukraine where they declared their 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 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 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 government forces. Part of it really is spilling over to surrounding countries.
– South Sudan, created as a new country this year 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 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.
– Bitcoin Evolution Review , 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 expected to see new conflict in regions or countries where conflict isn’t directly expected. Economic disparities will always be 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 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 on the internet. They are closely dealing with multiple governments on policies, shared projects and sharing data. Most willingly cooperate despite realizing that some of what they’re doing is illegal or at 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, taken 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 perhaps a number. That address should be unique so computers know where to find 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 people from worldwide 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 and it doesn’t deal with access to the Internet. But through its coordination role of the Internet’s naming system, it does have an important impact on the expansion and evolution of the web. “
Now with the push for ICANN to eliminate itself from governmental oversight to a more corporate setting it is a lot more worrying for the future of the internet since it exists now. Of-course it is currently choosing between the lesser of evils until hopefully an improved solution is found. We have seen what happens when the so called “free market” takes over, often people will not reap the benefits of this but again those that are able it in wealth and power will applaud it. It is too much for this article to discuss the limits of “free market” by those who control it but be confident we will do so in a new article. Giant corporations like Facebook, Google, Amazon and others intend to provide internet services to poor regions on the globe where there’s none or hard to get online. Of-course it isn’t just because it creates their heart warm however they wish to also decide what people pay, see, do and get on “their” version of the web. 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, 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 that is arranged in your country if.