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 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. 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 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 all over the world. The govporation will use and deploy whatever it could to keep the status quo regardless of the increasing gap between your common people and the few who own almost everything. Despite all the negativity most of us see, hear and read, there are always people within governments and corporations who do not trust certain actions or policies. Hopefully that they can bring change from the within by doing whatever they are able to to steer the ship to a better destiny. One cannot point to a complete government or corporation and say everyone in 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 people and devices are linked 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 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 a tool 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 net to be short, reaches into modern devices in one way or another. It’s in your house, office, outside “watching” you and even on your own body as a wearable. More worrisome is the rise of intelligent mobile technology that’s 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 grab additional power and access. Look around you and see what is going on while reading this to comprehend we are not seeing a decrease of threats to people everywhere but a rise. The additional capacity to monitor your lives in-depth will be justified through certain, man-made, events and technical developments. The threat isn’t just to privacy anymore but alive and limb. We will check out several current and upcoming developments which impact the personal world of the “commoner”. The pressures to give up personal data will undoubtedly be immense and relentless. An important defense for individuals 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 need to be aware of 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 should 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 similar to the world keeps changing. When, not if, we enter another dark period in history it will be an electronic disaster as all the data gathered is now offered by the hands of evil. Innocent data will not exist, it is just 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 now part of lifestyle whether you prefer it or not. Such profiling is used to narrow down targets that require to be watched for just about 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 section of gathering data from as much sources as you possibly can and automatically utilize it to categorize people is requesting problems. Now that humongous amounts of data could be easily analyzed and computer technology supplies the tools to manage this “big data” you will see increasing pressure to combine databases from many sources. Data gathered from government branches, commercial parties to non-profit organizations providing another little bit of the puzzle about your daily life. With the technologies 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 just because it is possible.
Biometric Data Sharing
The utilization of biometric data is to help determine the identity of people in an authentic manner, particularly if multiple sets of data are employed. For instance, 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 have to determine the desirability of an individual to enter the united states. Sadly enough the use of biometric data is now also applied on the streets and by alternative party organizations for different uses. Think about 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 and others are linking progressively more of their databases to form a giant worldwide database in which a lot of people have access. Some with not so good intentions.
Everyone, Everywhere, Anytime
Consider the recent spate of news about 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 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 Internet have made these activities possible. That some well-known whistle-blowers could access the info 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. A lot of their operations aren’t reported with 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 will keep claiming there is nothing to be worried about and life goes on for the normal 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 are probably already being monitored and categorized in some database. Sorry to break it for you.
Hardware Bigger Target
There is a trend which 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 additionally storing data on an area computer which range 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 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 is the new priority target to intercept data. Not only criminals but also government agencies are, with or minus the understanding 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 is not a warranty as other events show how shady agencies influence companies to weaken their product security to permit them easy access. Open-source hardware and software is advancing 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’ll 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 as it is and turning the world into one big surveillance state. Crime in every its forms and shapes will always 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 would benefit only the few who have 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 very best defense against those pesky enemies of the state; pre-emptive cyber strikes against other countries are increasing while disinformation has been spread through “bought” press outlets. Increase that infiltration of organizations and other entities and we have been another step nearer to perfect Orwellian societies. Cyber strikes are not as noticeable to the mass so they usually do not appear to be important enough to question or consider even though they get reported. Some media outlets spread disinformation on command, another exemplory case of the govporation complex. The question is what is accomplished beside 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 real country using such setups for specific operations. The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act or the FISA of 1978 allows a secret court to be setup. It really is considered to be almost a parallel supreme court today. Here the cases are completely one sided and are argued by the federal government only. There 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 is actually the court that issues warrants for (mass)surveillance including phone taps on individuals. The extent of these warrants reached 1800 in 2013 alone. The state story would be to stop terrorism and protect people which alone is logical. The main point is that there is no more accountability for individuals in this technique. 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. This is happening especially in the countries which always boast about their democracy and point to others which are not. Lots of the developed countries, particularly 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 safeguard and serve the people appears 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 increasing numbers of people get “connected”, like online, their activities become noticeable to those who wish to monitor and track them. How or on what 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 potential for getting dubbed a potentially disruptive influence by someone. Now with all the current newest technologies it is easy to get tagged as a threat but extremely difficult 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 based on economic motivation or simply 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 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. You can easily realize that the various governmental agencies already are 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 instead the compact type with more features fitting an urban setting. Perhaps a first step to robocops into the future with the authority of a real cop. Around this writing there are many 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 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 and other projectiles on a crowd in its mission area, in your backyard rather than in a far away country.
World Events Impact Liberties
Today’s world is fast changing with each negative event accelerating certain unpopular agendas. Not saying that change is 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 exactly what we should not do; sacrifice liberties we fought so difficult for in the past merely to get yourself 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 discover the real cause of why a conflict or event happened in the first place and learn from it instead of just fighting the outward symptoms as usual. In the event that you still think after all what has happened so far and leaked to the 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 really is too late.
The Rise Of Crypto Currencies
Several crypto currencies attended into existence over the last few years. Bitcoin is the most well-known of the while there were 275 crypto currencies in existence as of 2014. One clear trend it is simple to notice is their popularity is steadily increasing. The market capitalization is a good indicator of this although it is a bumpy ride with all the current speculators involved. The Bitcoin market cap is currently around $4.3 billion, Ripple as a second reaches $774 million and Litecoin as a third at $96 million. With economic and political issues affecting various countries on the globe, more people begin to hedge their bets on the national currencies and use these crypto currencies that aren’t controlled by any government or entity. It really is another exemplory case of how people push back by starting to develop and offer 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 begin to live to pay the rotating credit repayments. The larger this burden, the lesser may be 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 go through 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 necessary 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 one another 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 around the world. At least 20 of these fit the category war. By 2015 the rise of conflict areas in per year is worrying since elements of such are starting to discover a way into the daily life of several people in stable communities. That in itself could be bad or good if it awakens visitors to reality and see why these exact things happen, the story behind them and not just a symptom 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 very own Republic states backed by Russia.
– Nigeria, where terror group Boko Haram in 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 without 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 overtaking a considerable part including a bit 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 possess problems arising out of fighting between your rebel Al-Shabaab group and the federal government forces. Part of it is spilling 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 among the conflicts. While the presidential force is also engaged in supporting autonomy struggles of two provinces in neighboring Sudan.
– North Korea and South Korea, occasional skirmishes and technically still in war.
– Yemen, rebel groups fighting against the central government blended with terror groups using the country as their base of operations.
Although most of the above conflict areas have an extended violent history it is expected to see new conflict in regions or countries where conflict isn’t directly expected. Economic disparities have always been 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 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 kind of story for humanity as you may be thinking, just another flavor and color.
Corporate Influence on the net & ICANN
There are major developments in the digital world that indicate the increasing dominance of major corporations over the internet. They are closely working with multiple governments on policies, shared projects and sharing data. Most willingly cooperate despite understanding that some of what they are 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 Bitcoin Era Review continue you should understand what ICANN is, extracted from the ICANN website a brief introduction:
” To reach another person on the web you need to type an address into your personal computer – a name or perhaps a number. That address should be unique so computers know how to locate one another. ICANN coordinates these unique identifiers around the world. Without that coordination we wouldn’t have one global Internet. ICANN was formed in 1998. This is a not-for-profit partnership of people from all over the world 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 web. But through its coordination role of the Internet’s naming system, it does 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 more corporate setting it is a lot more worrying for future years of the internet since 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 is too much for this article to go over the limits of “free market” by those who control it but rest assured we will do so in a fresh article. Giant corporations like Facebook, Google, Amazon and others plan to provide internet services to poor regions in the world where there’s none or hard to get online. Of-course it is not just because it creates their heart warm but 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 for the internet as it is now. That is also why some countries went ahead to fix net neutrality by law, although some implemented a weak version of it under pressure from the corporate lobby. So you may want to have a look at how this is arranged in your country if at all.