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 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 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 a fact which is happening around the globe. The govporation use and deploy whatever it can to help keep the status quo despite 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 trust certain actions or policies. Hopefully that they can bring differ from the inside by doing whatever they can to steer the ship to an improved destiny. One cannot point to 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 where a large percentage of individuals and devices are connected to this entity called the Internet. One of the ways the web enriches our lives is that people can reach anyone with this net wherever they are. But then, do not forget that when you can reach anyone easily, others can reach you equally easily and dig into your life. When it started, it had been 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 trying to cover the gaps. The internet, or the web to be short, reaches into most modern devices in a single way or the other. It’s in your house, office, outside “watching” you and even on your own body as a wearable. More worrisome is the rise of intelligent mobile technology that’s potentially high-risk whether you’re 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 grab additional power and access. Look around you and see the proceedings while reading this to understand we are 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 is not only 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 stop personal data will undoubtedly be immense and relentless. An important defense for individuals is awareness and try 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 pay to maintain freedom. You don’t want to reside in an Orwellian world where “your government” watches your every move! Boundaries of your privacy must 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 that is a guaranteed ticket to a society we usually 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 just like the world keeps changing. When, not if, we enter another dark period in history it will be an electronic disaster as all the data gathered is now offered by the hands of evil. Innocent data will not exist, it is only a matter of the right time and the wrong hands to turn it into a weapon.

Automated Multi Source Profiling

Automated multi source profiling is now part of daily life whether you prefer 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 may be good or bad, the technique itself is flawed and can cause a lot of visitors to land in databases where they do not belong. The section of gathering data from as much sources as possible and automatically utilize it to categorize people is requesting problems. Now that humongous amounts of data can be easily analyzed and computer technology supplies the tools to manage this “big data” there will be 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 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 simply because it is possible.

Biometric Data Sharing

The utilization of biometric data would be to help determine the identity of people in an authentic manner, particularly when multiple sets of data are used. For instance, the passport documents of several countries now routinely include the fingerprint information but iris scan data and face recognition data are making an introduction too. Today the Canadian government uses the US biometric database along with what they have to determine the desirability of a person to enter the country. Sadly enough the usage 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 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 will get automatically identified as an unhealthy person grounding your travel plans or worse. Remember, countries, corporations and others are linking a lot 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 about the NSA snooping. Although for a lot of this was not just a surprise, for other people 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 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 exactly the same. Where possible they cooperate with others or go at it alone. A lot of their operations aren’t reported with their own governments or only limited by a few people that are not allowed to state much. One of the reasons is that public figures will keep claiming there is nothing to worry about and life continues on for the normal man. Also traditional intelligence gathering shifted to economic intelligence to help the own economy. In commercial terms it’s called business intelligence however when it comes to the level of secret agencies it goes beyond the known horizon. Many people are a target, just by reading this article you’re probably already being monitored and categorized in a few database. Sorry to break it for 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 instead of leaving it in the clear. This applies to exchanging data but additionally storing data on an area computer which range from tablets, phones, desktops to servers. The awakening of the general public is now also forcing lots 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 exactly 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 only criminals but additionally government agencies are, with or without the knowledge of manufacturers, rigging products to spy on the end-user. That they gather a huge amount of information which has nothing in connection 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 before to implement proper security. Still it is not 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 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’ll mean people can still get data from A 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 planet into one big surveillance state. Crime in all its forms and shapes will be part of humanity to cope with, so using this as a reason to sacrifice freedom, progress and alternatives is a no go. Perhaps it could benefit only the few who’ve a different agenda and have 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’s “always” the best defense against those pesky enemies of the state; pre-emptive cyber strikes against other countries are increasing while disinformation has been spread through “bought” press outlets. Add to that infiltration of organizations and other entities and we are another step closer to perfect Orwellian societies. Cyber strikes are not 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 example of the govporation complex. The question is what’s accomplished beside creating 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 can be 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 regarded as almost a parallel supreme court today. Here the cases are completely one sided and so are argued by the federal government only. There is a review process to appeal decisions of the FISA court but these are few and far between. Not one case has gone in appeal to the Supreme court. This can be 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 alone is logical. The main point is that there is forget about accountability for the people in this technique. These warrants are bound to improve and specific judges of FISA will tend to be amenable to issuing more of the authorizations. The authorizations often allow massive levels of data to be supplied to the NSA along with other agencies by telecom operators. In its rulings the court often assumes questions about constitutional validity and delivers interpretations which never undergo any public scrutiny. That is happening especially in the countries which always boast about their democracy and point to others which are not. Lots 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 is apparently getting less important with each passing year.

More Threat Branding

It is no secret that many entities come under the scanner of government agencies and even companies trying to dominate section of that job. As more and more people get “connected”, like on the Internet, 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 you can easily get tagged as a threat but almost impossible 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 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, 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 need to finalize regulations governing flying drones in urban airspace before commercial projects could launch. You can easily realize that the many governmental agencies are already increasing the urban use 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 kind of heavily armed drones used in military operations but rather the compact type with more features fitting an urban setting. Perhaps an initial step to robocops into the future with the authority of a genuine cop. As of 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 and 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. Your 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 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 reap the benefits of it. After each 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 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 energy of the govporation because of its own agenda. Might know about be doing is find the root cause of why a conflict or event happened to begin with and learn from it instead of just fighting the symptoms as usual. If you still think in the end what has happened up to now and leaked to the general public there’s 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 may be the most well-known of the while there were 275 crypto currencies around by 2014. One clear trend you can actually notice is their popularity is steadily increasing. The market capitalization is a wonderful indicator of this although 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 economic and political issues affecting various countries on the planet, 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 really is another exemplory case of how people rebel by starting to develop and offer alternatives to a system which will not serve them anymore.

Bitcoin Era Review & 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 pay the rotating credit repayments. The bigger this burden, the lesser may be the freedom of the person to essentially follow his free will. The primary concern of the person involved will be to stick to the existing job, not rock the boat at all and feel the daily grind to ensure the debt repayments happen. One very effective way of control would be to have greater burdens on everybody’s shoulders. To keep that control it is necessary for those in capacity 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 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. As of 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 alone can 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 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 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 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 groups 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 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 piece of Iraq.

– Iraq, struggling with 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 possess 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 fresh country in 2010 2010 2010. You can find two wars going on. Fight between your ex-vice president’s and the president’s forces is one of 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 almost all of the above conflict areas have a long violent history it is expected to see new conflict in regions or countries where conflict isn’t directly expected. Economic disparities will always be reasons for flare-ups throughout history. 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 combination of one or more of the following causes: poor economy, corruption, police state, religious tensions, foreign influence, oppression, unpopular politics, extreme difference poor vs rich, racial inequality. The same kind of story for humanity as you may be thinking, just another flavor and color.

Corporate Influence online & ICANN

You can find major developments in the digital world that indicate the increasing dominance of major corporations on the internet. They are closely dealing with multiple governments on policies, shared projects and sharing data. Most willingly cooperate despite understanding 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 short introduction:

” To reach another person on the web you will need to type an address into your computer – a name or perhaps a number. That address should be unique so computers know where to find 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 just a not-for-profit partnership of people from everywhere 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 impact on the expansion and evolution of the web. “

Now with the push for ICANN to eliminate itself from governmental oversight to a far more corporate setting it is even more worrying for the future of the internet since it exists now. Of-course it is currently choosing between your lesser of evils until hopefully an improved solution is found. We’ve seen what happens once the so called “free market” gets control, often people will not benefit from this but again those who are able it in wealth and power will applaud it. It 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 fresh article. Giant corporations like Facebook, Google, Amazon and others plan to provide internet services to poor regions on the planet 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, although some implemented a weak version of it under great pressure from the corporate lobby. So you might want to take a look at how this is arranged in your country if at all.