Governance of countries, throughout history, has always depended on monitoring and tracking its citizens. Common people in 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 in to the lives of common people and their personal details. Add to 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 worked on 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 simply not a prediction but a fact which is happening everywhere. The govporation will use and deploy whatever it could to keep the status quo regardless of the increasing gap between the common people and the few who own almost everything. Despite all the negativity we all see, hear and read, there are 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 can 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 when you can reach anyone easily, others can reach you equally easily and dig into your daily life. When it started, it had been an instrument for collaboration between researchers and security issues weren’t on your brain map of developers. Any security mechanisms that we build today are retrofits trying to cover the gaps. The internet, or the web to be short, reaches into most 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 is the rise of intelligent mobile technology that’s potentially high-risk whether you are in the home or outside jogging in the park.
Several social-political trends indicate why those in power and in the monitoring / tracking business will seek to seize additional power and access. Look around you and see what is going on while reading this to understand we are not seeing a loss of threats to people everywhere but an increase. The additional capacity to monitor your lives in-depth will be justified through certain, man-made, events and technical developments. The threat is not just to privacy anymore but 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 give up personal data will 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 other people must respect by real laws. Suitable laws should be enacted, you will need to be aware of new developments and their consequences. As somebody once said; eternal vigil may be the price one has to pay to maintain freedom. coincapcentral don’t want to live in an Orwellian world where “big brother” watches your every move! Boundaries of your privacy must be guarded zealously.
Assuming by default that many people are a threat and therefor justifying total surveillance and control of people is not the way to go. It opens a huge 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 similar to the world keeps changing. When, not if, we enter another dark period in history it will be a digital disaster as all the data gathered is now offered by the hands of evil. Innocent data does not exist, it is only a matter of the right time and the wrong hands to turn it into a weapon.
Automated Multi Source Profiling
Automated multi source profiling is currently part of daily life whether you prefer it or not. Such profiling is used to narrow down targets that need 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 people 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 requesting problems. Now that humongous amounts of data can be easily analyzed and computer technology supplies the tools to control this “big data” there will be 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 available today, it will be simple 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 use of biometric data would be to help determine the identity of people in an authentic manner, particularly if multiple sets of data are used. For example, 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 united states biometric database besides what they need to determine the desirability of a person to enter the country. Sadly enough the usage of biometric data is currently also applied on the streets and by alternative 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 obtain automatically identified as an unhealthy person grounding your travel plans or worse. Remember, countries, corporations among others are linking more and more of their databases to create a giant worldwide database where a lot of folks have access. Some with not so good intentions.
Everyone, Everywhere, Anytime
Consider the recent spate of news concerning the NSA snooping. Although for a lot of this was not just a surprise, for others who always called worried citizens tinfoil crazies, it really is embarrassing by all of the revelations concerning the widespread mass surveillance. Not merely have they been monitoring domestic citizens, they have been cited for snooping on people and political parties in other countries. No doubt, the extensive option 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 contrary to the human factor. It’s of-course not only the NSA, basically any similar agency far away 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 to a few people that are not allowed to state much. Among the reasons is that public figures will keep claiming there is nothing to worry about and life continues 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 however when it comes to the level of secret agencies it goes beyond the known horizon. Everyone is a target, just by scanning this article you’re probably already being monitored and categorized in 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 instead of leaving it in the clear. This goes for 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. That is encouraging however, not enough, especially the dominating corporations will always find 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 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 really is more important than ever to implement proper security. Still it is not a guarantee as other events show how shady agencies influence companies to weaken their product security to permit them quick access. Open-source hardware and software is advancing 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 A through X to B. Even if such progress is unwanted it can’t be stopped without destroying the web 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 really a no go. Perhaps it could benefit only the few who’ve a different agenda and need to spread fear to 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. Increase that infiltration of organizations and other entities and we are another step nearer to perfect Orwellian societies. Cyber strikes are not as visible 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’s 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 it is 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 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 is regarded as almost a parallel supreme court today. Here the cases are completely one sided and are argued by the government only. There exists a review process to appeal decisions of the FISA court but they are few and far between. Not one case has gone in interest the Supreme court. This can be a court that issues warrants for (mass)surveillance including phone taps on individuals. The extent of these warrants reached 1800 in 2013 alone. The official story is to stop terrorism and protect people which alone is logical. The main point is that there is no more accountability for the people in this process. These warrants are bound to improve and specific judges of FISA are likely to be amenable to issuing more of these authorizations. The authorizations often allow massive amounts of data to be supplied to the NSA along with other agencies by telecom operators. In its rulings the court often takes on questions about constitutional validity and delivers interpretations which never undergo any public scrutiny. That is happening especially in the countries which always boast about their democracy and 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, is the use 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 part of that job. As increasing numbers of people get “connected”, like on the Internet, 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, 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 undoubtedly be branded as a potential threat. By now everyone who critically followed worldwide developments can predict that a “threat” could be based on economic motivation or simply 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 may or might not become reality, but it clearly demonstrates that commercial behemoth thinks it really is feasible. Drones that have capability 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 various 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 found in military operations but rather the compact type with an increase of features fitting an urban setting. Perhaps a first step to robocops into the future with the authority of a real 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 and so on. A drone built with high-definition cameras and 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 far off when police drones can launch missiles along with 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 accelerating certain unpopular agendas. Not to say that change is always bad, but we focus here on the result it is wearing liberties and how some powerful groups reap the benefits of it. After every major event like 9/11, wars in countries like Afghanistan, Iraq, regional bloody revolutions with or without foreign influence, we do exactly what we ought to not do; sacrifice liberties we fought so 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 because of 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 after all 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 is too late.
The Rise Of Crypto Currencies
Several crypto currencies attended into existence during the last few years. Bitcoin may be the most well-known of these while there have been 275 crypto currencies around by 2014. One clear trend you can easily notice is their popularity is steadily increasing. The market capitalization is a good indicator of this though it is a bumpy ride with all the current 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 in the world, 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 push back by starting to develop and provide alternatives to something which will not serve them anymore.
Cash Limits & Debt Increasing
Most developed countries, governments, float nowadays on credit while an increasing amount of citizens run through their credit limits and start to live to pay 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 method 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 ways of trading which cannot be easily monitored, taxed and controlled. God forbid visitors to actually miss the middleman and deal directly with each other and change the machine from within.
Worldwide Increase of Conflicts
By the finish of year 2013, The Heidelberg Institute for International Conflict Research (HIIK) reported the existence of some 400 conflicts across the world. At least 20 of these 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 many people in stable communities. That alone can be bad or good if it awakens people to reality and see why these things happen, the story behind them and not just a symptom 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 in fact the army of the ruling government is fighting with the M23 rebel group and religious tensions are flaring up between Christians and Muslims.
– Mali, where Islamist rebels are actively 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 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 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 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, struggling with the war against IS, assisted by an international coalition consisting of the US, Arab countries, Iran and the EU. Religious violence between Sunnis and Shiites is also increasing.
– The Philippines where Moro people continue their struggle for independence.
– Somalia continues to have problems arising out of fighting between the rebel Al-Shabaab group and the federal government forces. Part of it really is spilling over to surrounding countries.
– South Sudan, created as a fresh country this year 2010 2010. There are two wars going on. Fight between your ex-vice president’s and the president’s forces is 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 contrary to the central government mixed with terror groups utilizing the country as their base of operations.
Although almost all of the above conflict areas have a long 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. Given that the BRICS countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) break right 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 following 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 online & ICANN
You can find major developments in the digital world that indicate the increasing dominance of major corporations over the internet. They are closely dealing with multiple governments on policies, shared projects and sharing data. Most willingly cooperate despite understanding 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 you should understand what ICANN is, taken from the ICANN website a brief introduction:
” To reach another person on the web you have to type an address into your computer – a name or perhaps a number. That address has to 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. This can be a not-for-profit partnership of people from around the globe 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 web. 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 can have an important effect on the expansion and evolution of the Internet. “
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 since it exists now. Of-course it really is currently choosing between the lesser of evils until hopefully a better 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 who can afford it in wealth and power will applaud it. It really is too much for this article to discuss the limits of “free market” by those that control it but be confident we will do so in a new article. Giant corporations like Facebook, Google, Amazon among others plan to provide internet services to poor regions on the planet where there is 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 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 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.