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 set a boundary to what could 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 stats. Add to that another powerful entity, the corporations, who within their pursuit of holy profit have tried to read 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 folks from unreasonable interference within their life.

The line between governments and corporations is fading away. This is simply not a prediction but an undeniable fact which is happening across the world. The govporation will use and deploy whatever it can to keep the status quo regardless of the increasing gap between your common people and the few who own almost anything. Despite all the negativity most of us see, hear and read, you can find always people within governments and corporations who do not agree with 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 is out to dictate life to the rest 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 Internet. One of the ways the web enriches our lives is that we can reach anyone on 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 was 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 attempting to cover the gaps. The internet, or the web 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 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 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 seize additional power and access. Shop around you and see the proceedings while reading this to understand we are not seeing a decrease of threats to people everywhere but an increase. The additional power to monitor your lives in-depth will undoubtedly 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 have a look at 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. An important defense for the people is awareness and try 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 aware of new developments and their consequences. As somebody once said; eternal vigil is the price one has to cover to maintain freedom. You do not want to reside in an Orwellian world where “big brother” watches your every move! Boundaries of one’s privacy ought 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 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 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 of the data gathered is now available at the hands of evil. Innocent data does not exist, it is only a matter of the proper time and the wrong hands to turn it into a weapon.

Automated Multi Source Profiling

Automated multi source profiling is currently part of 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 could be good or bad, the method itself is flawed and will cause a lot of people to land in databases where they do not belong. The part of gathering data from as many sources as possible and automatically use it to categorize people is asking for problems. Now that humongous levels of data could be easily analyzed and computer technology supplies the tools to control this “big data” you will have increasing pressure to mix databases from many sources. Data gathered from government branches, commercial parties to non-profit organizations providing another piece of the puzzle about your daily life. With the technologies on the market, it will be simple to collect, merge and manage the data about an individual. That all 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 individuals in an authentic manner, particularly if multiple sets of data are employed. 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 united states biometric database as well as what they need to determine the desirability of an individual to enter the united states. Sadly enough the application of biometric data is currently also applied on the streets and by alternative party organizations for different uses. Think of identifying someone at specific places within the country 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 lot of false positives. You can get automatically identified as an undesirable person grounding your travel plans or worse. Remember, countries, corporations among others are linking a lot more of their databases to form a giant worldwide database in which a lot of folks have access. Some with not good intentions.

Everyone, Everywhere, Anytime

Consider the recent spate of news concerning the NSA snooping. Although for a lot of this was not a surprise, for other people who always called worried citizens tinfoil crazies, it is embarrassing by all of the revelations about the widespread mass surveillance. Not only have they been monitoring domestic citizens, they have been cited for snooping on people and political parties in other countries. No doubt, the extensive option of internet technologies and the reach of the web have made these activities possible. That some well-known whistle-blowers could access the info acquired by NSA, is really 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 far away does the same. Where possible they cooperate with others or go at it alone. A lot of their operations aren’t reported to their own governments or only limited by a few people who are not allowed to state much. Among the reasons is that public figures will keep claiming you’ll find nothing to worry about and life goes on for the common man. Also traditional intelligence gathering shifted to economic intelligence to help the own economy. In commercial terms it’s called business intelligence but when it comes to the level of secret agencies it goes beyond the known horizon. 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 utilize encryption software to secure data rather than leaving it in the clear. This goes for exchanging data but additionally storing data on a local computer which range from tablets, phones, desktops to servers. The awakening of the general public is now also forcing a great deal of companies to start implementing some type of encryption and privacy rules. This is encouraging however, not enough, especially the dominating corporations will always find a way to breach that trust while at the same time enjoy protection from their friends in governments. Recent, leaked, information demonstrates hardware is the new priority target to intercept data. Not only criminals but additionally government agencies are, with or without the knowledge of manufacturers, rigging products to spy on the end-user. That they gather plenty 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 really 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 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”. 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 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 really a no go. Perhaps it could benefit only the few who’ve a different agenda and have to spread fear to help 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 is “always” the very 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” news media outlets. Add to Bitcoin Revolution of organizations along with other entities and we have been another step closer 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 example of the govporation complex. The question is what is 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 this can be a 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 really is considered to be 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 these are few and far between. Not one case has gone in interest the Supreme court. Here is the court that issues warrants for (mass)surveillance including phone taps on individuals. The extent of these warrants reached 1800 in 2013 alone. The official story would be to stop terrorism and protect people which in itself is logical. The main point is that there is no more accountability for the people in this technique. These warrants are bound to increase and specific judges of FISA are likely to be amenable to issuing more of these authorizations. The authorizations often allow massive levels of data to be supplied to the NSA along with other agencies by telecom operators. In its rulings the court often assumes 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. 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 many entities come under the scanner of government agencies and even companies trying to take over section of that job. As more and more people get “connected”, like on the Internet, 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, there will be higher potential for getting dubbed a potentially disruptive influence by someone. Now with all the current newest technologies you can easily 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 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 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 commercial behemoth thinks it is feasible. Drones that have capacity 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 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 type of heavily armed drones used in military operations but instead the compact type with more features fitting an urban setting. Perhaps an initial step to robocops into the future with the authority of a real cop. Around this writing there are various companies already offering armed drones for crowd control with pepper-spray, rubber bullets, blinding lasers, ear-piercing audio etc. A drone built with high-definition cameras along with other light spectrum modes can quickly identify targets in real-time connected to some mainframe. Several experts conclude there is an increasing 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 speeding up certain unpopular agendas. Not to say that change is always 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 hard for in the past just to get a false sense of security. That sort 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. Might know about be doing is find the real cause of why a conflict or event happened in the first place and learn from it instead of just fighting the symptoms as usual. In the event that you still think in the end what has happened up to now and leaked to the public there is still no reason to hit the alarm button then nothing else 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 may be the most well-known of these while there were 275 crypto currencies in existence by 2014. One clear trend you can easily notice is their popularity is steadily increasing. The market capitalization is a superb 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 is another exemplory case of how people push back by starting to develop and provide 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 run through their credit limits and start to live to pay the rotating credit repayments. The bigger this burden, the lesser may be the freedom of the person to essentially follow his free will. The primary concern of the person involved will be to adhere 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 method of control would be 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 people to actually miss the middleman and deal directly with each other 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 around 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 could be bad or good if it awakens visitors to reality and see why these exact things happen, the story in it and not just an indicator out of the blue. The next is really a limited list, in no particular order, of major ongoing conflicts which will keep growing:

– Democratic Republic of Congo, where the army of the ruling government is fighting with the M23 rebel group and religious tensions are flaring up between Christians and Muslims.

– Mali, where Islamist rebels are actively seeking to take over the 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 without 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 taking over a considerable part including a bit of Iraq.

– Iraq, fighting the war against IS, assisted by an international coalition consisting of the united states, Arab countries, Iran and the EU. Religious violence between Sunnis and Shiites is also increasing.

– The Philippines where Moro people continue their struggle for independence.

– Somalia continues to have problems arising out of fighting between your rebel Al-Shabaab group and the government forces. Part of it is spilling to surrounding countries.

– South Sudan, created as a fresh country this year 2010 2010. 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 against the central government blended with terror groups using the country as their base of operations.

Although most 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 reasons for flare-ups throughout history. Now 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 following 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 online & ICANN

You can find 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 realizing 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 we continue it is very important understand what ICANN is, extracted from the ICANN website a brief introduction:

” To reach another person online you need 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 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 is 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 online. It cannot stop spam also it doesn’t deal with access to the Internet. But through its coordination role of the Internet’s naming system, it does have an important effect on the expansion and evolution of the Internet. “

Now with the push for ICANN to eliminate itself from governmental oversight to a far more corporate setting it is a lot more worrying for the future of the internet as it exists now. Of-course it really 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” gets control, often people will not reap the benefits of this but again those who are able it in wealth and power will applaud it. It really is too much for this article to go over the limits of “free market” by those that control it but rest assured we will do so in a fresh article. Giant corporations like Facebook, Google, Amazon and others intend to provide internet services to poor regions on earth where there’s none or hard to get online. Of-course it isn’t just because it makes their heart warm but they wish to also decide what folks pay, see, do and obtain on “their” version of the web. Exactly like what the lobby of corporate groups wants for the internet as it is now. This 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 might want to have a look at how that is arranged in your country if at all.

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