The Govporation Complex

Governance of countries, throughout history, has always depended on monitoring and tracking its citizens. Common people in their effort to protect their privacy have tried to 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 into the lives of common people and their personal details. Add to that another powerful entity, the corporations, who within their quest for 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 intended to protect people 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 help 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, you can find always people within governments and corporations who usually do not trust certain actions or policies. We hope that they can bring change from the inside by doing whatever they are able to to steer the ship to a better destiny. One cannot point to a complete government or corporation and say everyone in it is out to dictate life to the others to serve holy profit.

Now the world has developed into global digital community in which a large percentage of individuals and devices are connected to this entity called the web. One of the ways the Internet enriches our lives is that we can reach anyone on this net wherever they are. But, do not forget that if you can reach anyone easily, others can reach you equally easily and dig into your life. When it started, it was an instrument for collaboration between researchers and security issues weren’t on your brain map of developers. Any security mechanisms that we build today are retrofits trying to cover the gaps. The internet, or the web to be short, reaches into modern devices in one way or another. It’s in your house, office, outside “watching” you and even on your own body as a wearable. More worrisome may be the rise of intelligent mobile technology that’s potentially high-risk whether you’re 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 what is going on while reading this to understand we have been not seeing a decrease of threats to people everywhere but a rise. The additional power to monitor your lives in-depth will undoubtedly be justified through certain, man-made, events and technical developments. The threat isn’t just to privacy anymore but alive 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 make an effort to set the boundary which governments, corporate bodies or other people must respect by real laws. Suitable laws will have to be enacted, you will need to be familiar with new developments and their consequences. As somebody once said; eternal vigil is the price one has to cover to maintain freedom. You don’t want to reside in an Orwellian world where “your government” watches your every move! Boundaries of your privacy ought to be guarded zealously.

Assuming by default that everyone is a threat and therefor justifying total surveillance and control of individuals is not the way to go. It opens a huge can of worms which 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 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 will not exist, it is only a matter of the proper time and the incorrect hands to turn it right 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 just about any specific reason. The reason may be good or bad, the technique itself is flawed and can cause a lot of visitors to land in databases where they don’t belong. The part of gathering data from as much sources as possible and automatically utilize it to categorize people is asking for problems. Now that humongous amounts of data can 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 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 all is collected without reason, innocent or not, for profit or just 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 many 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 US biometric database along with what they need to determine the desirability of a person to enter the country. Sadly enough the use of biometric data is now also applied on the streets and by alternative party organizations for different uses. Think about identifying some one at specific places within the united states and saving that information for later use. This 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 find automatically identified as an undesirable person grounding your travel plans or worse. Remember, countries, corporations and others are linking increasingly more 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 some people this was not just a surprise, for others who always called worried citizens tinfoil crazies, it really is embarrassing by all 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 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 data acquired by NSA, is really a testimony that even intelligence agencies have difficulties protecting their operations and data against 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. Lots of their operations aren’t reported with their own governments or only limited to a few people that are not allowed to state much. One of the reasons is that public figures can keep claiming there is nothing to be worried 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. Everyone is a target, just by scanning this article you’re probably already being monitored and categorized in some database. Sorry to break it for you.

Hardware Bigger Target

There is a trend which is slowly finding its way to the general public to use encryption software to secure data instead of leaving it in the clear. This goes for exchanging data but also storing data on an area computer which range from tablets, phones, desktops to servers. The awakening of everyone is now also forcing a great deal of companies to start implementing some kind of encryption and privacy rules. This 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 shows that hardware may be the new priority target to intercept data. Not only criminals but additionally government agencies are, with or without 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 web 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 easy access. Open-source hardware and software is advancing because of the cooperation of worldwide communities of people 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 though 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 deal with, so using this as grounds to sacrifice freedom, progress and alternatives is really a no go. Perhaps it would 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 appears to be getting normal to attack first and investigate later as that’s “always” the best defense against those pesky enemies of hawaii; pre-emptive cyber strikes against other countries are increasing while disinformation has been spread through “bought” press outlets. Increase that infiltration of organizations along with other entities and we have been another step closer to perfect Orwellian societies. Cyber strikes aren’t as visible to the mass so they do not appear to be important enough to question or think about even if they get reported. Some media outlets spread disinformation on command, another example 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 have 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 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. 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 appeal to 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 state story would be 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 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. That 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, is the usage of such data for more control and economic espionage on everyone. The old mission to protect 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 beneath the scanner of government agencies and also companies trying to take over part of that job. As increasing numbers of people get “connected”, like on the web, their activities become noticeable to those who want 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 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 simply 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 may not become reality, but 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 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 already are increasing the urban usage of flying drones for surveillance and monitoring purposes. Beside that it contributes to 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 rather 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 many companies already offering armed drones for crowd control with pepper-spray, rubber bullets, blinding lasers, ear-piercing audio etc. A drone equipped with high-definition cameras along with other light spectrum modes can quickly identify targets in real-time linked to some mainframe. Several experts conclude there’s a growing trend of militarizing police forces and extending their capability with drones. The day may not be remote when police drones can launch missiles along with other projectiles on a crowd in its mission area, in your backyard and not in a a long way away country.

World Events Impact Liberties

Today’s world is fast changing with each negative event accelerating certain unpopular agendas. Not saying that change is always bad, but we focus here on the effect it has on 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 have to not do; sacrifice liberties we fought so difficult for in the past merely to get a false sense of security. That type of flawed logic has helped increase the monitoring, tracking, limiting freedom of citizens and increasing the energy of the govporation for 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 rather than just fighting the symptoms as usual. If you still think after all what has happened so far and leaked to the public there is still no reason to hit the alarm button then nothing else will change your view until it really is too late. Perhaps it 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 these while there have been 275 crypto currencies in existence by 2014. One clear trend you can actually notice is their popularity is steadily increasing. The marketplace capitalization is a great indicator of this though it is a bumpy ride with all the current speculators involved. The Bitcoin market cap is currently around $4.3 billion, Ripple as another is at $774 million and Litecoin as a third at $96 million. With Bitcoin Era Official and political issues affecting various countries on earth, 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 really is another exemplory case of how people push back by starting to develop and offer alternatives to something 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 start to live to pay the rotating credit repayments. The bigger this burden, the lesser may be the freedom of the person to really follow his free will. The principal concern of the person involved will be to adhere to the existing job, not rock the boat at all and feel 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 important for those in power to restrict ways of trading which cannot be easily monitored, taxed and controlled. God forbid visitors to actually skip the middleman and deal directly with each other 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 around 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 elements of such are starting to discover a way into the daily life of several people in stable communities. That alone 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 following is really a limited list, in no particular order, of major ongoing conflicts which will keep 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 wanting to take over the country fighting against mostly French forces who intervened.

– The war between Ukraine, backed by the US/EU, against rebels in the east of Ukraine where they declared their very own Republic states backed by Russia.

– Nigeria, where terror group Boko Haram in their attempt to introduce Sharia law, keeps attacking moderate Muslims and Christians.

– Sudan, where groups 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 taking over 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 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 in 2010 2010 2010. There are two wars going on. Fight between your ex-vice president’s and the president’s forces is probably 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 contrary to the central government mixed with terror groups utilizing 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 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 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 next causes: poor economy, corruption, police state, religious tensions, foreign influence, oppression, unpopular politics, extreme difference poor vs rich, racial inequality. The same old story for humanity as you may be thinking, yet another flavor and color.

Corporate Influence on the Internet & ICANN

You can find major developments in the digital world that indicate the increasing dominance of major corporations over the internet. They are closely working 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 it is important to understand what ICANN is, extracted from the ICANN website a short introduction:

” To reach another person on the net you should type an address into your personal computer – a name or a number. That address should be unique so computers know how to locate one another. ICANN coordinates these unique identifiers around the world. Without that coordination we wouldn’t have one global Internet. ICANN was formed in 1998. It 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 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 does have an important impact on the expansion and evolution of the Internet. “

Now with the push for ICANN to eliminate itself from governmental oversight to a more corporate setting it is even more worrying for future years of the internet as it exists now. Of-course it really is currently choosing between the lesser of evils until hopefully a better solution is found. We’ve seen what happens once the so called “free market” takes over, often people will not reap the benefits of this but again those that are able 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 that control it but rest assured we will do so in a new article. Giant corporations like Facebook, Google, Amazon and others plan to provide internet services to poor regions on the globe where there’s none or hard to get online. Of-course it is not just because it makes their heart warm however 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 online as it is now. This is also why some countries went ahead to repair net neutrality by law, although some implemented a weak version of it under great pressure from the corporate lobby. So you may want to have a look at how that is arranged in your country if at all.