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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 possibly 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 stats. 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 worked on 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 across the world. The govporation will use and deploy whatever it can to help keep the status quo regardless of the increasing gap between the common people and the few who own almost everything. Despite all the negativity we all 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 differ from the inside by doing whatever they can to steer the ship to a better destiny. One cannot indicate a complete government or corporation and say everyone inside it has gone out to dictate life to the others to serve holy profit.

Now the world has turned into a global digital community in which a large percentage of people and devices are linked to this entity called the web. One of the ways the web enriches our lives is that we 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 was 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 attempting to cover the gaps. The web, or the net to be short, reaches into modern devices in one 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 is potentially high-risk whether you are at home or outside jogging in the park.

Several social-political trends indicate why those in power and in the monitoring / tracking business will seek to grab additional power and access. Look around you and see what is going on while reading this to understand we are 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 undoubtedly be immense and relentless. A significant 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 may be the price one has to cover to maintain freedom. You do not want to live in an Orwellian world where “big brother” watches your every move! Boundaries of your privacy need 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 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 an electronic disaster as all of the data gathered is now offered by the hands of evil. Innocent data does not exist, it is only a matter of the proper 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 require 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 much sources as possible and automatically utilize it to categorize people is requesting problems. Now that humongous amounts of data could 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 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.

Biometric Data Sharing

The application of biometric data would be to help determine the identity of individuals in an authentic manner, particularly when multiple sets of data are used. For instance, 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 as well as what they have to determine the desirability of a person to enter the country. Sadly enough the utilization 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 will 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 will get 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 create a giant worldwide database in which a lot of folks have access. Some with not so good intentions.

Everyone, Everywhere, Anytime

Think about the recent spate of news about the NSA snooping. Although for some people this was not a surprise, for other people who always called worried citizens tinfoil crazies, it 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 availability of internet technologies and the reach of the Internet have made these activities possible. That some well-known whistle-blowers could access the info 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 in other countries does the same. Where possible they cooperate with others or go at it alone. Many their operations are not reported with their own governments or only limited by a few people that are not allowed to say much. One of the reasons is that public figures will keep claiming you’ll find nothing to be worried about and life continues on for the normal man. Also traditional intelligence gathering shifted to economic intelligence to greatly help the own economy. In commercial terms it’s called business intelligence however when it comes to the level of secret agencies it goes beyond the known horizon. Everyone is a target, just by reading this article you’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 solution to the general public to utilize encryption software to secure data rather than leaving it in the clear. This applies to exchanging data but also storing data on a local computer 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. This 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. That they gather plenty of information which has nothing in connection with a legitimate target they’re 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 guarantee as other events show how shady agencies influence companies to weaken their product security to allow them quick access. Open-source hardware and software is advancing because of the cooperation of worldwide communities of people and is an option to “blackboxes”. Combined 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 all its forms and shapes will always be part of humanity to deal with, so using this as grounds to sacrifice freedom, progress and alternatives is a no go. Perhaps it could benefit only the few who have 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 is “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. 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 seem to be important enough to question or think about 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 press for hidden agendas and spreading distrust in society by more infiltrations? By knowing the why and who society can determine if here is the world we want to live 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 really is regarded as almost a parallel supreme court today. Here the cases are completely one sided and 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 one case has gone in appeal to the Supreme court. This is 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 would be to stop terrorism and protect people which in itself is logical. The point is that there is no more accountability for individuals in this process. These warrants are bound to improve 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 assumes 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. Lots of the developed countries, particularly the ones growing into 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 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 part of that job. As increasing numbers of people get “connected”, like on the net, their activities become visible 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 have higher prospect of 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 and even know such entry exists in a few database. technical analysis 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 predicated on economic motivation or perhaps 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 might 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 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 are already 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 sort 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 of the future with the authority of a genuine cop. Around this writing there are various companies already offering armed drones for crowd control with pepper-spray, rubber bullets, blinding lasers, ear-piercing audio and so on. A drone 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 is an increasing trend of militarizing police forces and extending their capability with drones. Your day may not be far off when police drones can launch missiles and 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 to say that change is always bad, but we focus here on the effect it is wearing 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 exactly what we ought to not do; sacrifice liberties we fought so hard for in the past merely to get a false sense of security. That sort of flawed logic has helped raise 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 outward symptoms as usual. If you still think after all what has happened up to now and leaked to the public there’s still no reason to hit the alarm button then nothing else is going to change your view until it is too late. Perhaps it is too late.

The Rise Of Crypto Currencies

Several crypto currencies have come into existence over the last few years. Bitcoin may be the most well-known of these while there were 275 crypto currencies around by 2014. One clear trend it is simple to notice is their popularity is steadily increasing. The marketplace capitalization is a superb 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 another reaches $774 million and Litecoin as a third at $96 million. With economic and political issues affecting various countries on the globe, more people begin to hedge their bets on the national currencies and work with these crypto currencies that are not controlled by any government or entity. It really is another exemplory case of how people push back by starting to develop and provide 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 run through their credit limits and start 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 adhere to the current job, not rock the boat at all and go through the daily grind to guarantee the debt repayments happen. One very effective way of control would be to have greater burdens on everybody’s shoulders. To keep that control it is important for those in power to restrict ways of trading which can’t 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 worldwide. At least 20 of the fit the category war. As of 2015 the rise of conflict areas in a year is worrying since elements of such are starting to find a way into the daily life of several people in stable communities. That alone can be bad or good if it awakens visitors to reality and see why these exact things happen, the story in it and not just a symptom out of the blue. The following is really 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 groups of mixed ethnic origin are fighting with government forces and each other.

– 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 united states mostly, and the Taliban.

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

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

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

– Iraq, fighting the war against IS, assisted by an international coalition consisting of the US, Arab countries, Iran and the EU. Religious violence between Sunnis and Shiites is also increasing.

– The Philippines where Moro people continue their struggle for independence.

– Somalia continues to have problems arising out of fighting between 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 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 one of 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 contrary to the central government blended with terror groups utilizing the country as their base of operations.

Although a lot 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 will always be reasons for flare-ups throughout history. Given that the BRICS countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) break right into the “developed” countries club one must anticipate serious friction over market, influence, resources and territory. Internal conflicts, within countries, sometimes differ but often it involves a variety of one or more of the next 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 might be thinking, yet another flavor and color.

Corporate Influence online & ICANN

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

” To reach another person on the net you have to type an address into your computer – a name or perhaps a number. That address must be unique so computers know how to locate one another. ICANN coordinates these unique identifiers across the world. Without that coordination we wouldn’t have one global Internet. ICANN was formed in 1998. It is just a not-for-profit partnership of individuals from around 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 web. It cannot stop spam and it doesn’t deal with access to the Internet. 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 remove itself from governmental oversight to a more corporate setting it is a lot more worrying for the future of the internet since 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 when 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 really is too much for this article to discuss the limits of “free market” by those who control it but be confident we will achieve this in a fresh article. Giant corporations like Facebook, Google, Amazon and others intend to provide internet services to poor regions on the planet where there is none or hard to obtain online. Of-course it isn’t just because it makes their heart warm but they wish to also decide what folks pay, see, do and get on “their” version of the internet. Just like what the lobby of corporate groups wants for the internet 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 pressure from the corporate lobby. So you might want to take a look at how this is arranged in your country if at all.