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 create 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 into the lives of common people and their personal details. Add to that another powerful entity, the corporations, who in their quest for holy profit have tried to learn customer behavior to ensure 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 in their life.

The line between governments and corporations is fading away. This is simply not a prediction but an undeniable fact which is happening around the globe. The govporation 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 anything. 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. 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 indicate 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 people and devices are connected to this entity called the web. One of the ways the web enriches our lives is that we can reach anyone on 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 was an instrument for collaboration between researchers and security issues were not on the mind map of developers. Any security mechanisms that we build today are retrofits attempting to cover the gaps. The internet, or the net to be short, reaches into most modern devices in a single way or the other. It’s in your house, office, outside “watching” you as well as on your body as a wearable. More worrisome is the rise of intelligent mobile technology that’s potentially high-risk whether you are at home or outside jogging in the park.

Several social-political trends indicate why those in power and in the monitoring / tracking business will seek to grab additional power and access. Look around you and see the proceedings while reading this to understand we have been 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 isn’t just to privacy anymore but to life and limb. We will take 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 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 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. You don’t want to live in an Orwellian world where “your government” watches your every move! Boundaries of one’s privacy have to 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. Bitcoin Era Review opens a giant 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 nice kind. Another reason is that governments come and go similar to 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 offered by the hands of evil. Innocent data does not exist, it is only a matter of the right time and the incorrect hands to turn it into a weapon.

Automated Multi Source Profiling

Automated multi source profiling is currently part of lifestyle whether you like it or not. Such profiling can be used to narrow down targets that require to be watched for just about any specific reason. The reason could be good or bad, the method itself is flawed and can cause a lot of people to land in databases where they do not belong. The part of gathering data from as much sources as you possibly can and automatically utilize it to categorize people is requesting problems. Now that humongous levels of data can be easily analyzed and computer technology provides the tools to control this “big data” there will be increasing pressure to combine databases from many sources. Data gathered from government branches, commercial parties to non-profit organizations providing another piece of the puzzle about your daily 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 just because it is possible.

Biometric Data Sharing

The usage of biometric data would be to help determine the identity of individuals in an authentic manner, particularly when multiple sets of data are employed. 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 in addition to what they need to determine the desirability of an individual to enter the country. Sadly enough the use of biometric data is now also applied on the streets and by third party organizations for different uses. Think of identifying somebody 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 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 may get 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 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 a surprise, for other people who always called worried citizens tinfoil crazies, it is embarrassing by all the revelations concerning the widespread mass surveillance. Not only have they been monitoring domestic citizens, they are 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 data 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. Many their operations aren’t reported to their own governments or only limited to 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 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 but when it comes to the level of secret agencies it goes beyond the known horizon. Everyone is 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 way to the general public to utilize encryption software to secure data rather than leaving it in the clear. This applies to exchanging data but also storing data on a local 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. That is encouraging however, not enough, especially the dominating corporations will always discover a way to breach that trust while at the same time enjoy protection from their friends in governments. Recent, leaked, information implies that hardware may be 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 a huge amount of information which has nothing to do with a legitimate target they’re after is ignored. Everything is stored for future use. Now with the Internet of Things, IoT, it is more important than ever before to implement proper security. Still it is not a guarantee as other events show how shady agencies influence companies to weaken their product security to allow them quick access. Open-source hardware and software is advancing because of the cooperation of worldwide communities of individuals and is an option to “blackboxes”. Coupled 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 web since 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 deal with, so using this as grounds 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 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 that infiltration of organizations along with other entities and we are another step closer to perfect Orwellian societies. Cyber strikes aren’t as noticeable to the mass so they 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 making a potential situation worse by pre-emptive strikes, corrupting news media for hidden agendas and spreading distrust in society by more infiltrations? By knowing the why and who society can determine if this is actually the world we want to reside 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 country using such setups for specific operations. The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act or the FISA of 1978 allows a secret court to be setup. It is regarded as almost a parallel supreme court today. Here the cases are completely one sided and so are argued by the government only. There exists a review process to appeal decisions of the FISA court but they are few and far between. Not just one case has gone in interest the Supreme court. It 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 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 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. That is happening especially in the countries which always boast about their democracy and indicate others which are not. Lots of the developed countries, particularly the ones growing into the “developed” club, certainly have such secret courts. The troublesome part, beside legality, may be the usage of such data for more control and economic espionage on everyone. The old mission to safeguard and serve the people seems to be getting less important with each passing year.

More Threat Branding

It is no secret that lots of entities come under the scanner of government agencies and even companies trying to dominate part of that job. As more and more people get “connected”, like online, their activities become noticeable to those who would like to monitor and track them. How or on 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 prospect of getting dubbed a potentially disruptive influence by someone. Now with all the newest technologies you can easily get tagged as a threat but almost impossible 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 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 will be delivering products bought by its customers through drones. Which could or may not become reality, but it clearly demonstrates that this commercial behemoth thinks it really 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. You can easily realize that the many governmental agencies already are increasing the urban use of flying drones for surveillance and monitoring purposes. Beside that it plays a part in mass-surveillance, a worrying development is arming drones with lethal and non-lethal weapons for use against civilians. These are not the type of heavily armed drones used in military operations but instead the compact type with an increase of features fitting an urban setting. Perhaps an initial step to robocops into the future with the authority of a genuine 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 and so on. A drone built with high-definition cameras along with other light spectrum modes can easily identify targets in real-time linked to some mainframe. Several experts conclude there 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 along with other projectiles on a crowd in its mission area, in your backyard and not in a far 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 benefit from it. After every major event like 9/11, wars in countries like Afghanistan, Iraq, regional bloody revolutions with or without foreign influence, we do just what we should not do; sacrifice liberties we fought so hard for in the past merely 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 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 instead of just fighting the outward symptoms as usual. If you still think after all what has happened up to now and leaked to the general 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 during the last few years. Bitcoin is the most well-known of these while there were 275 crypto currencies in existence by 2014. One clear trend it is simple to notice is their popularity is steadily increasing. The market capitalization is an excellent indicator of this although it is a bumpy ride with all the 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 work with 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 offer alternatives to a system which does not serve them anymore.

Cash Limits & Debt Increasing

Most developed countries, governments, float nowadays on credit while a growing amount of citizens run through their credit limits and begin to live to cover the rotating credit repayments. The larger this burden, the lesser is the freedom of the person to really follow his free will. The principal concern of the person involved will be to stick 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 would be to have greater burdens on everybody’s shoulders. To help keep that control it is crucial for those in capacity to restrict means of trading which can’t be easily monitored, taxed and controlled. God forbid people to actually skip the middleman and deal directly with one another and change the machine from within.

Worldwide Increase of Conflicts

By the 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 the fit the category war. By 2015 the rise of conflict areas in per year is worrying since components of such are starting to discover a way into the daily life of many people in stable communities. That in itself can be bad or good if it awakens people to reality and see why these things happen, the story in it and not just a symptom out of the blue. The next is a limited list, in no particular order, of major ongoing conflicts which keeps 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 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 try 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 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 bit of Iraq.

– Iraq, fighting the war against IS, assisted by a global 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 government forces. Part of it really is spilling to surrounding countries.

– South Sudan, created as a new 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 contrary to the central government mixed with terror groups utilizing the country as their base of operations.

Although a lot of the above conflict areas have an extended violent history it is expected 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 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 on the web & ICANN

There are major developments in the digital world that indicate the increasing dominance of major corporations online. 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 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, taken 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 must 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. It is just a not-for-profit partnership of individuals from everywhere 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 web. But through its coordination role of the Internet’s naming system, it can have an important effect on the expansion and evolution of the web. “

Now with the push for ICANN to eliminate itself from governmental oversight to a more corporate setting it is a lot more worrying for the future of the internet 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” takes over, 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 that control it but be confident we will achieve this in a new article. Giant corporations like Facebook, Google, Amazon among others plan to provide internet services to poor regions in the world where there is none or hard to obtain online. Of-course it is not just because it makes their heart warm but they wish to also decide what people pay, see, do and get on “their” version of the internet. Exactly like what the lobby of corporate groups wants online as it is now. This 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 take a look at how this is arranged in your country if at all.

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