Governance of countries, throughout history, has always depended on monitoring and tracking its citizens. Common people in their effort to protect their privacy have tried to create a boundary to what could possibly be monitored and snooped. This boundary has kept shifting; particularly advancements in technology have always managed to get possible to reach further into the lives of common people and their personal details. Add to that another powerful entity, the corporations, who in their pursuit of holy profit have tried to learn customer behavior to make sure their profit targets are met. History shows businesses and governing powers have often worked on common agenda. Increasingly bypassing laws designed 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 worldwide. The govporation will 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 everything. Despite all the negativity most of us see, hear and read, there are always people within governments and corporations who do not agree with certain actions or policies. We hope that they can bring change from the within by doing whatever they can to steer the ship to an improved destiny. One cannot indicate a complete government or corporation and say everyone inside it is out to dictate life to the others to serve holy profit.
Now the world has turned into a global digital community in which a large percentage of individuals and devices are connected to this entity called the web. One of the ways the Internet enriches our lives is that we can reach anyone on 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 daily life. When it started, it was an instrument for collaboration between researchers and security issues weren’t on the mind map of developers. Any security mechanisms that we build today are retrofits attempting to cover the gaps. The web, or the net to be short, reaches into most modern devices in a single way or the other. It’s in your own home, office, outside “watching” you or even on your body as a wearable. More worrisome may be the rise of intelligent mobile technology that’s potentially high-risk whether you’re at home or outside jogging in the park.
Several social-political trends indicate why those in power and in the monitoring / tracking business will seek to grab additional power and access. Look around you and see the proceedings while reading this to understand we have been not seeing a decrease 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 only 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 be immense and relentless. An important defense for individuals is awareness and try to set the boundary which governments, corporate bodies or anyone else must respect by real laws. Suitable laws will have to be enacted, you will need to be familiar with new developments and their consequences. As somebody once said; eternal vigil may be the price one has to pay to maintain freedom. You do not want to live in an Orwellian world where “big brother” watches your every move! Boundaries of one’s privacy need to 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 giant can of worms which is a guaranteed ticket to a society we usually do not want. One reason is human nature as demonstrated countless times by history, not talking about the nice 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 of the data gathered is now available at the hands of evil. Innocent data does not exist, it is just a matter of the right 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 prefer it or not. Such profiling can be 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 visitors to land in databases where they do not belong. The part of gathering data from as many sources as you possibly can and automatically use 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” there will be increasing pressure to combine databases from many sources. Data gathered from government branches, commercial parties to non-profit organizations providing another piece of the puzzle about your life. With the technologies on the market, it will be easy to collect, merge and manage the info about an individual. That is collected without reason, innocent or not, for profit or simply because it is possible.
Biometric Data Sharing
The utilization of biometric data is to help determine the identity of individuals 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 US biometric database as well as what they need to determine the desirability of a person to enter the country. Sadly enough the use of biometric data is currently also applied on the streets and by alternative 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 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 may get automatically identified as an unhealthy person grounding your travel plans or worse. Remember, countries, corporations among others are linking increasingly 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
Consider the recent spate of news about the NSA snooping. Although for a lot of this was not a surprise, for other people who always called worried citizens tinfoil crazies, it really is embarrassing by all 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 far away. No doubt, the extensive availability of internet technologies and the reach of the web 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 merely the NSA, basically any similar agency in other countries does the same. Where possible they cooperate with others or go at it alone. Many their operations aren’t reported with their own governments or only limited by a few people that are not allowed to say much. Among the reasons is that public figures will keep claiming you’ll find nothing to worry 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 however when it comes to the level of secret agencies it goes beyond the known horizon. Many people are a target, just by scanning this article you’re 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 instead of leaving it in the clear. This applies to exchanging data but also storing data on a local 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. This is encouraging but not enough, especially the dominating corporations will always discover a way to breach that trust while at exactly the same time enjoy protection from their friends in governments. Recent, leaked, information implies 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. That they gather a huge amount of information which has nothing to do with a legitimate target they are 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 warranty as other events show how shady agencies influence companies to weaken their product security to allow them quick access. Open-source hardware and software is advancing thanks to the cooperation of worldwide communities of individuals 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 A through X to B. Even though such progress is unwanted it cannot 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 deal with, so using this as grounds to sacrifice freedom, progress and alternatives is 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 appears to be getting normal to attack first and investigate later as that’s “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” news media outlets. Add to that infiltration of organizations along with other entities and we are another step nearer to perfect Orwellian societies. Cyber strikes aren’t as noticeable to the mass so they usually do not appear to be important enough to question or think about even if they get reported. Some media outlets spread disinformation on command, another exemplory case of the govporation complex. The question is what’s accomplished beside creating a potential situation worse by pre-emptive strikes, corrupting press for hidden agendas and spreading distrust in society by more infiltrations? By knowing the why and who society can determine if it is the world we want to live in or do we need to make changes.
More Secret Courts
Here we take as an example the U.S secret courts but that 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 considered to be almost a parallel supreme court today. Here the cases are completely one sided and are argued by the federal government only. You will find 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 a court that issues warrants for (mass)surveillance including phone taps on individuals. The extent of the warrants reached 1800 in 2013 alone. The official story is to stop terrorism and protect people which in itself is logical. The main point is that there is forget about accountability for the people in this technique. 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 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 indicate others which are not. Many 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 use 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 under the scanner of government agencies and even companies trying to dominate section of that job. As more and more people get “connected”, like on the web, their activities become visible to those who wish 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 have 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 extremely difficult to fight against it and even know such entry exists in some database. The broader powers the govporation complex gets the more entities will undoubtedly be branded as a potential threat. Right 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 while a journalist.
Weaponized Urban Drones
Amazon has announced that it will be delivering products bought by its customers through drones. Which could or might not become reality, but 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 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 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. They are not the kind of heavily armed drones used 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 genuine cop. As of this writing there are various companies already offering armed drones for crowd control with pepper-spray, rubber bullets, blinding lasers, ear-piercing audio and so on. A drone equipped with high-definition cameras and other light spectrum modes can quickly 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 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 fast 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 has on 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 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 energy of the govporation for its own agenda. What we should be doing is discover the real cause of why a conflict or event happened to begin with and learn from it rather than just fighting the outward symptoms as usual. If you still think in the end what has happened so far and leaked to the general public there is still no reason to hit 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 have come into existence during the last few years. Bitcoin is the most well-known of the while there were 275 crypto currencies around by 2014. One clear trend it is simple to notice is their popularity is steadily increasing. The market capitalization is a wonderful indicator of this though it is a bumpy ride with all the speculators involved. The Bitcoin market cap is currently around $4.3 billion, Ripple as another is at $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 are not controlled by any government or entity. It 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 start to live to pay the rotating credit repayments. The bigger this burden, the lesser is the freedom of the person to essentially follow his free will. The primary concern of the person involved will be to stick to the current 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 would be to have greater burdens on everybody’s shoulders. To keep that control it is crucial for those in capacity to restrict means of trading which cannot be easily monitored, taxed and controlled. God forbid visitors to actually skip 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 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 components 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 things happen, the story in it and not just a symptom 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 wanting 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 attempt 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 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 taking over 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 the 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. You can find two wars going on. Fight between your ex-vice president’s and the president’s forces is among 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 blended with terror groups using the country as their base of operations.
Although Bitcoin Revolution Review of the above conflict areas have an extended violent history it is likely to see new conflict in regions or countries where conflict is not directly expected. Economic disparities will always be reasons for flare-ups throughout history. Given that the BRICS countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) break 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 old story for humanity as you may be thinking, yet 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 on 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’re doing is illegal or at the very least very unethical. But holy profit, power and status is something shared by both parties giving it the name “the govporation”. Before we continue it is important to understand what ICANN is, extracted from the ICANN website a brief introduction:
” To reach another person online you have to type an address into your computer – a name or perhaps a number. That address must be unique so computers know where to find each other. ICANN coordinates these unique identifiers around 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 across the world dedicated to keeping the web secure, stable and interoperable. It promotes competition and develops policy on the Internet’s unique identifiers. ICANN doesn’t control content on the net. It cannot stop spam also it doesn’t deal with usage of the web. But through its coordination role of the Internet’s naming system, it does have an important impact 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 even more worrying for the future of the internet as it exists now. Of-course it really is currently choosing between the lesser of evils until hopefully an improved solution is found. We’ve seen what happens when the so called “free market” gets control, often people will not reap the benefits of this but again those that are able it in wealth and power will applaud it. It is too much because of this article to go over the limits of “free market” by those who control it but rest assured we will do so in a new article. Giant corporations like Facebook, Google, Amazon and others plan to provide internet services to poor regions on the planet 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 obtain 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, even though some implemented a weak version of it under great pressure from the corporate lobby. So you may want to have a look at how this is arranged in your country if.