The Govporation Complex

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 be monitored and snooped. This boundary has kept shifting; particularly advancements in technology have always made it possible to reach further into the lives of common people and their personal details. Increase that another powerful entity, the corporations, who in their pursuit of 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 intended 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 everywhere. The govporation use and deploy whatever it could to keep the status quo regardless of the increasing gap between the common people and the few who own almost anything. 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. We hope that they can bring change from the within by doing whatever they are able to 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 developed into global digital community where a large percentage of individuals and devices are connected to this entity called the Internet. 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 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 web, or the net to be short, reaches into modern devices in a single way or another. It’s in your own home, office, outside “watching” you or even on your body as a wearable. More worrisome is the rise of intelligent mobile technology that’s potentially high-risk whether you are 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. Look around you and see what is going on while reading this to understand we have been not seeing a loss 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 alive 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 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 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 “your government” watches your every move! Boundaries of your privacy should be guarded zealously.

Assuming by default that many people are a threat and therefor justifying total surveillance and control of people is not the ideal solution. It opens a huge can of worms which is a guaranteed ticket to a society we usually do not want. One reason is human nature as demonstrated countless times by history, not 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 a digital disaster as all of the data gathered is now available at the hands of evil. Innocent data will not exist, it is only 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 now part of lifestyle whether you like it or not. Such profiling can be used to narrow down targets that need to be watched for just about any specific reason. The reason could be good or bad, the technique 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 utilize it to categorize people is asking for problems. Now that humongous levels of data could be easily analyzed and computer technology provides the tools to control this “big data” you will have 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 data about an individual. That is collected without reason, innocent or not, for profit or simply because it is possible.

Bitcoin Era Official Sharing

The application of biometric data is to help determine the identity of people in an authentic manner, particularly when multiple sets of data are used. For example, 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 need to determine the desirability of an individual to enter the united states. Sadly enough the utilization of biometric data is now also applied on the streets and by third party organizations for different uses. Think of identifying some one at specific places within the country and saving that information for later use. This does 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 lot of false positives. You can obtain automatically identified as an undesirable person grounding your travel plans or worse. Remember, countries, corporations among others are linking more and more of their databases to form a giant worldwide database where a lot of people have access. Some with not good intentions.

Everyone, Everywhere, Anytime

Think about the recent spate of news about the NSA snooping. Although for a lot of this was not a surprise, for others 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 in other countries. 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 only 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 are not reported to their own governments or only limited to a few people who are not allowed to say much. Among the reasons is that public figures can keep claiming there is nothing to worry about and life goes on for the common 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 amount 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 rather than 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 many companies to start implementing some kind of encryption and privacy rules. That is encouraging however, not enough, especially the dominating corporations will always find a way to breach that trust while at 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 just criminals but additionally government agencies are, with or without the understanding 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 is more important than ever 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 permit them quick access. Open-source hardware and software is advancing thanks to 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 A through X to B. Even if such progress is unwanted it cannot 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 be part of humanity to handle, 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 have to spread fear to help 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’s “always” the very best defense against those pesky enemies of hawaii; 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 closer to perfect Orwellian societies. Cyber strikes aren’t as noticeable to the mass so they usually do not seem to be important enough to question or think about 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 the world we want to reside in or do we have to make changes.

More Secret Courts

Here we take including the U.S secret courts but 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 regarded as 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 just 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 state 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 increase and specific judges of FISA are likely to be amenable to issuing more of these authorizations. The authorizations often allow massive amounts of data to be supplied to the NSA along with other agencies by telecom operators. In its rulings the court often takes on questions about constitutional validity and delivers interpretations which never undergo any public scrutiny. This is happening especially in the countries which always boast about their democracy and indicate others which are not. A lot of the developed countries, specially the ones growing in to 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 protect 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 even companies trying to dominate section of that job. As increasing numbers of people get “connected”, like online, their activities become visible to those who would like 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 prospect of getting dubbed a potentially disruptive influence by someone. Now with all the newest technologies it is easy to get tagged as a threat but almost impossible to fight against it as well as know such entry exists in a few database. The broader powers the govporation complex gets the more entities will be branded as a potential threat. Right now everyone who critically followed worldwide developments can predict that a “threat” could be predicated 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 may not become reality, nonetheless it clearly demonstrates that commercial behemoth thinks it really is feasible. Drones that have capability to reach the desired addresses are feasible today. However, authorities in different countries need 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 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 sort 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. Around this writing there are many 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 along with other light spectrum modes can quickly identify targets in real-time connected to some mainframe. Several experts conclude there’s a growing trend of militarizing police forces and extending their capability with drones. The day may not be remote when police drones can launch missiles and other projectiles on a crowd in its mission area, in your backyard rather than in a a long way away country.

World Events Impact Liberties

Today’s world is quickly changing with each negative event accelerating certain unpopular agendas. Not to say that change is definitely bad, but we focus here on the result it is wearing liberties and how some powerful groups reap the benefits of it. After every major event like 9/11, wars in countries like Afghanistan, Iraq, regional bloody revolutions with or without foreign influence, we do just what we have to not do; sacrifice liberties we fought so difficult for in the past just to get yourself a false sense of security. That type of flawed logic has helped increase 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 root cause of why a conflict or event happened to begin with 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 general public there is still no reason to hit the alarm button then nothing else will probably change your view until it 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 have been 275 crypto currencies in existence as of 2014. One clear trend it is simple to notice is their popularity is steadily increasing. The marketplace capitalization is a superb indicator of this although it is a bumpy ride with all the current speculators involved. The Bitcoin market cap happens to be around $4.3 billion, Ripple as a second reaches $774 million and Litecoin as a third at $96 million. With economic and political issues affecting various countries on the planet, 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 is another example of how people push back by starting to develop and offer alternatives to something which will not serve them anymore.

Cash Limits & Debt Increasing

Most developed countries, governments, float nowadays on credit while an increasing amount of citizens tell you their credit limits and begin to live to cover the rotating credit repayments. The larger this burden, the lesser may be the freedom of the person to essentially 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 is to have greater burdens on everybody’s shoulders. To help keep that control it is crucial for those in power to restrict means of trading which can’t be easily monitored, taxed and controlled. God forbid visitors to actually miss the middleman and deal directly with one another and change the system 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 across the world. At least 20 of these fit the category war. As of 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 many 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 keeps 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 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 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 piece 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 possess problems arising out of fighting between your rebel Al-Shabaab group and the federal government forces. Part of it really is spilling over to surrounding countries.

– South Sudan, created as a fresh country this year 2010 2010. You can find two wars going on. Fight between the ex-vice president’s and the president’s forces is among the conflicts. While 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 the majority of the above conflict areas have a long violent history it is likely to see new conflict in regions or countries where conflict is not directly expected. Economic disparities have always been known reasons for flare-ups throughout history. Given that the BRICS countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) break into the “developed” countries club one must anticipate serious friction over market, influence, resources and territory. Internal conflicts, within countries, sometimes differ but often it involves a variety of one or more of the following causes: poor economy, corruption, police state, religious tensions, foreign influence, oppression, unpopular politics, extreme difference poor vs rich, racial inequality. The same old story for humanity as you may be thinking, yet another flavor and color.

Corporate Influence on the net & ICANN

You can find major developments in the digital world that indicate the increasing dominance of major corporations over the internet. They are closely dealing with multiple governments on policies, shared projects and sharing data. Most willingly cooperate despite knowing 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 you should understand what ICANN is, taken from the ICANN website a brief introduction:

” To reach another person online you must type an address into your personal computer – a name or perhaps a number. That address has to be unique so computers know where to find each other. ICANN coordinates these unique identifiers across 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 individuals from worldwide 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 online. It cannot stop spam and it doesn’t deal with usage of 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 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 your lesser of evils until hopefully a better solution is found. We’ve seen what happens when the so called “free market” takes over, often people will not benefit from this but again those that can afford it in wealth and power will applaud it. It really is too much because of this article to discuss the limits of “free market” by those who control it but be confident we will do so in a new 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 isn’t just because it makes their heart warm however they wish to also decide what folks pay, see, do and get on “their” version of the web. Just like what the lobby of corporate groups wants for the internet as it is now. That is also why some countries went ahead to repair net neutrality by law, even though 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.