The Govporation Complex

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 set a boundary to what could possibly be monitored and snooped. This boundary has kept shifting; particularly advancements in technology have always made it possible to reach further in to 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 read customer behavior to make sure their profit targets are met. History shows businesses and governing powers have often done common agenda. Increasingly bypassing laws designed to protect people 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 we all see, hear and read, you can find 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 are able to to steer the ship to a better destiny. One cannot indicate a complete government or corporation and say everyone in it is 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 Internet. One of the ways the web enriches our lives is that people 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 had been a tool for collaboration between researchers and security issues were not on the mind map of developers. Any security mechanisms that people build today are retrofits trying to cover the gaps. The internet, or the web to be short, reaches into most modern devices in one way or the other. It’s in your house, office, outside “watching” you and even on your body as a wearable. More worrisome is the rise of intelligent mobile technology that is potentially high-risk whether you are in the home or outside jogging in the park.

Several social-political trends indicate why those in power and in the monitoring / tracking business will seek to 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 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 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 should be enacted, you need to be aware of new developments and their consequences. As somebody once said; eternal vigil may be the price one has to pay 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 have 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 that is a guaranteed ticket to a society we do not want. One reason is human nature as demonstrated countless times by history, not talking about the good kind. Another reason is that governments come and go similar to the world keeps changing. When, not if, we enter another dark period in history it will be an electronic disaster as all of the data gathered is now offered by the hands of evil. Innocent data will not exist, it is just a matter of the proper time and the incorrect 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 require to be watched for any specific reason. The reason could be good or bad, the method itself is flawed and can cause a lot of visitors to land in databases where they don’t belong. The section of gathering data from as many sources as you possibly can and automatically utilize it to categorize people is requesting problems. Now that humongous amounts of data could be easily analyzed and computer technology provides the tools to control this “big data” you will see 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 easy to collect, merge and manage the data about an individual. That is collected without reason, innocent or not, for profit or just because it is possible.

Biometric Data Sharing

The use of biometric data is to help determine the identity of individuals in an authentic manner, particularly when multiple sets of data are employed. For instance, the passport documents of several countries now routinely are 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 besides what they have to determine the desirability of a person to enter the country. Sadly enough using biometric data is currently also applied on the streets and by third party organizations for different uses. Think of identifying somebody at specific places within the country and saving that information for later use. This will not target international travelers anymore, but everyone within borders can be remotely identified by face recognition camera’s without reason. Many experts have accused biometric data of raising a lot of false positives. You can obtain automatically identified as an unhealthy person grounding your travel plans or worse. Remember, countries, corporations and others are linking a growing number of of their databases to form a giant worldwide database where a lot of folks have access. Some with not good intentions.

Everyone, Everywhere, Anytime

Think about 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 really is embarrassing by all of the revelations about 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 option 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 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 in other countries does the same. Where possible they cooperate with others or go at it alone. Plenty of their operations are not reported with their own governments or only limited to a few people that are not allowed to state much. Among the reasons is that public figures can 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 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 some 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 use encryption software to secure data instead of leaving it in the clear. This applies to exchanging data but additionally storing data on an area computer ranging 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 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 implies that hardware may be the new priority target to intercept data. Not just criminals but additionally government agencies are, with or without the knowledge of manufacturers, rigging products to spy on the end-user. They gather plenty of information which has nothing to do with a legitimate target they are after is ignored. Everything is stored for future use. Now with the Internet of Things, IoT, it really 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 allow 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 though such progress is unwanted it can’t be stopped without destroying the internet as it is and turning the planet into one big surveillance state. Crime in every its forms and shapes will always be part of humanity to cope with, 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 have 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 is “always” the very best defense against those pesky enemies of hawaii; pre-emptive cyber strikes against other countries are increasing while disinformation is being spread through “bought” press outlets. Add to that infiltration of organizations and other entities and we are another step nearer to perfect Orwellian societies. Cyber strikes are not as noticeable to the mass so they do not appear to be important enough to question or consider even if 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 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 really is considered to be almost a parallel supreme court today. Here the cases are completely one sided and so are argued by the 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 is actually the 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 is to stop terrorism and protect people which in itself is logical. The point is that there is forget about accountability for individuals in this process. These warrants are bound to improve and specific judges of FISA will tend 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. 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 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 protect and serve the people is apparently 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 take over part of that job. As more and more people get “connected”, like on the Internet, their activities become noticeable to those who wish to monitor and track them. How or on which basis any entity is dubbed a “potential threat” is usually a subjective thing. Unless these decision makers have strict checks and balances, you will see higher potential for getting dubbed a potentially disruptive influence by someone. Now with all the current newest technologies it is easy to get tagged as a threat but extremely difficult to fight against it or even know such entry exists in a few 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 predicated 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 desired 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 various governmental agencies are already 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 sort of heavily armed drones found in military operations but rather the compact type with more features fitting an urban setting. Perhaps a first step to robocops of the future with the authority of a real cop. Around this writing there are numerous companies already offering armed drones for crowd control with pepper-spray, rubber bullets, blinding lasers, ear-piercing audio and so forth. A drone built with high-definition cameras and 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 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 definitely bad, but we focus here on the result it is wearing 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 exactly what we have to not do; sacrifice liberties we fought so difficult 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 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. If you still think after all what has happened up to now and leaked to the general public there is still no reason to hit the alarm button then nothing else will change your view until it is too late. Perhaps it really is too late.

The Rise Of Crypto Currencies

Several crypto currencies attended into existence over the last few years. Bitcoin is the most well-known of the while there have been 275 crypto currencies around as of 2014. One clear trend you can actually notice is their popularity is steadily increasing. The market capitalization is an effective indicator of this though it is a bumpy ride with all 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 in the world, more people begin 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 push back by starting to develop and offer alternatives to a system which will not serve them anymore.

Cash Limits & Debt Increasing

Most developed countries, governments, float nowadays on credit while 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 primary concern of the individual involved will be to adhere to the existing job, not rock the boat at all and feel the daily grind to ensure the debt repayments happen. One very effective method of control is to have greater burdens on everybody’s shoulders. To keep that control it is important for those in power to restrict means of trading which can’t be easily monitored, taxed and controlled. God forbid visitors to actually skip 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 everywhere. At least 20 of these fit the category war. By 2015 the rise of conflict areas in a year is worrying since components of such are starting to find a way into the daily life of many people in stable communities. That in itself could be bad or good if it awakens people to reality and see why these exact things happen, the story behind them and not just an indicator 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 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 in their attempt to introduce Sharia law, keeps attacking moderate Muslims and Christians.

– Sudan, where sets of mixed ethnic origin are fighting with government forces and each other.

– 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 US mostly, and the Taliban.

– Unstable Pakistani border with Afghanistan and increasing drone strikes on extremist groups.

– Mexico, remains the hotbed of drug-wars, human trafficking, blackmail and smuggling by the drug cartels.

– Syria, the civil war continues to rage on with the terror group IS overtaking a considerable part including a bit of Iraq.

– Iraq, fighting the war against IS, assisted by an international coalition consisting of the US, Arab countries, Iran and the EU. Religious violence between Sunnis and Shiites can be 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 government forces. Part of it really is spilling to surrounding countries.

– South Sudan, created as a new country in 2010 2010 2010. There are two wars going on. Fight between your ex-vice president’s and the president’s forces is among the conflicts. While the presidential force is also engaged in supporting autonomy struggles of two provinces in neighboring Sudan.

– North Korea and South Korea, occasional skirmishes and technically still in war.

– Yemen, rebel groups fighting against the central government blended with terror groups utilizing 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 isn’t directly expected. Economic disparities have always been known reasons for flare-ups throughout history. Now 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 old story for humanity as you may be thinking, just another flavor and color.

Corporate Influence on the net & ICANN

There are major developments in the digital world that indicate the increasing dominance of major corporations on the internet. technical analysis are closely working with multiple governments on policies, shared projects and sharing data. Most willingly cooperate despite realizing 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 very important understand what ICANN is, taken from the ICANN website a brief introduction:

” To reach another person on the web you need to type an address into your personal computer – a name or a number. That address needs to 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. This is 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 Internet. It cannot stop spam and 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 remove 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 is currently choosing between your lesser of evils until hopefully an improved solution is found. We have seen what happens once the so called “free market” gets control, often people will not benefit from this but again those that are able it in wealth and power will applaud it. It is too much for this article to go over the limits of “free market” by those who control it but be confident we will do so in a fresh article. Giant corporations like Facebook, Google, Amazon among others plan to provide internet services to poor regions on the planet where there’s none or hard to obtain online. Of-course it isn’t just because it creates their heart warm but they wish to also decide what folks pay, see, do and get on “their” version of the internet. 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 may want to have a look at how that is arranged in your country if.