July 26, 2021

The Govporation Complex

Governance of countries, throughout history, has always depended on monitoring and tracking its citizens. Common people within their effort to safeguard their privacy have tried to create a boundary to what could possibly be monitored and snooped. This boundary has kept shifting; particularly advancements in technology have always made it possible to reach further into the lives of common people and their personal stats. Increase that another powerful entity, the corporations, who within their pursuit of holy profit have tried to learn 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 within their life.

The line between governments and corporations is fading away. This is not a prediction but an undeniable fact which is happening worldwide. The govporation will use and deploy whatever it could to help keep the status quo despite 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 do not trust certain actions or policies. We hope that they can bring differ from the inside by doing whatever they are able to to steer the ship to a better destiny. One cannot indicate a whole government or corporation and say everyone inside it is out to dictate life to the rest to serve holy profit.

Now the world has turned into a global digital community in which a large percentage of individuals and devices are linked to this entity called the Internet. One of the ways the Internet enriches our lives is that people can reach anyone with 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 daily life. When it started, it was a tool for collaboration between researchers and security issues weren’t 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 one way or another. It’s in your house, office, outside “watching” you and even on your body as a wearable. More worrisome may be the rise of intelligent mobile technology that is 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 comprehend we have been not seeing a loss of threats to people everywhere but a rise. The additional capacity 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 to life and limb. We will check out several current and upcoming developments which impact the personal world of the “commoner”. The pressures to stop 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 other people must respect by real laws. Suitable laws will have to 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 cover to maintain freedom. You don’t want to live in an Orwellian world where “big brother” watches your every move! Boundaries of your privacy should be guarded zealously.

Assuming by default that everyone is a threat and therefor justifying total surveillance and control of people is not the way to go. It opens a giant 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 talking about 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 human history it will be a digital 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 right time and the wrong hands to turn it into a weapon.

Automated Multi Source Profiling

Automated multi source profiling is now part of lifestyle whether you like it or not. Such profiling is used to narrow down targets that require to be watched for any specific reason. The reason may 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 part of gathering data from as much sources as you possibly can and automatically use 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” 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 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 usage of biometric data would be to help determine the identity of people in an authentic manner, particularly when multiple sets of data are employed. For example, the passport documents of many countries now routinely include the fingerprint information but iris scan data and face recognition data are making an introduction too. Today the Canadian government uses the US biometric database in addition to what they need 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 third 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 large percentage of false positives. You can obtain automatically identified as an undesirable person grounding your travel plans or worse. Remember, countries, corporations among others are linking increasingly more of their databases to form a giant worldwide database where 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 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 concerning the widespread mass surveillance. Not merely 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 info acquired by NSA, is a testimony that even intelligence agencies have difficulties protecting their operations and data against the human factor. It’s of-course not only the NSA, basically any similar agency far away does the same. Where possible they cooperate with others or go at it alone. A great deal of their operations are not reported to their own governments or only limited to a few people that are not allowed to say much. One of the reasons is that public figures can keep claiming there is nothing to be worried about and life continues 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 however 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 are probably already being monitored and categorized in a few database. Sorry to break it to you.

Hardware Bigger Target

There is a trend that is slowly finding its way to the general public to use encryption software to secure data rather than leaving it in the clear. This goes for exchanging data but additionally storing data on a local computer which range from tablets, phones, desktops to servers. Bitcoin Era Site of the general public is now also forcing many companies to start implementing some type of encryption and privacy rules. That is encouraging but 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 may be the new priority target to intercept data. Not just criminals but additionally government agencies are, with or without the understanding of manufacturers, rigging products to spy on the end-user. They gather a huge amount 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 web of Things, IoT, it is more important than ever before 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 thanks to the cooperation of worldwide communities of individuals and is an option to “blackboxes”. Combined with more decentralizing of encrypted data flows mixed through Tor-like networks it will mean people can still get data from the through X to B. Even if such progress is unwanted it cannot be stopped without destroying the web since 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 handle, so using this as a reason to sacrifice freedom, progress and alternatives is a no go. Perhaps it could benefit only the few who have a different agenda and need to spread fear to help 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 is “always” the best defense against those pesky enemies of hawaii; pre-emptive cyber strikes against other countries are increasing while disinformation is being spread through “bought” news media outlets. Increase that infiltration of organizations and other entities and we have been another step closer to perfect Orwellian societies. Cyber strikes aren’t as noticeable 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 exemplory case 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 is the world we want to reside in or do we have to make changes.

More Secret Courts

Here we take including the U.S secret courts but that is by no means the only real country using such setups for specific operations. The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act or the FISA of 1978 allows a secret court to be setup. It 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 one case has gone in interest the Supreme court. This 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 alone is logical. The point is that there is no more accountability for the people in this process. These warrants are bound to increase and specific judges of FISA will tend to be amenable to issuing more of the authorizations. The authorizations often allow massive amounts of data to be supplied to the NSA and other agencies by telecom operators. In its rulings the court often takes on questions about constitutional validity and delivers interpretations which never undergo any public scrutiny. This is happening especially in the countries which always boast about their democracy and indicate others which are not. A lot of the developed countries, particularly the ones growing in to the “developed” club, certainly have such secret courts. The troublesome part, beside legality, may be the use 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 under the scanner of government agencies and even companies trying to take over section of that job. As increasing numbers of people get “connected”, like on the net, 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 often a subjective thing. Unless these decision makers have strict checks and balances, you will have 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 extremely difficult to fight against it as well as know such entry exists in some database. The broader powers the govporation complex gets the more entities will be branded as a potential threat. Right now everyone who critically followed worldwide developments can predict that a “threat” could be based on economic motivation or simply 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. That could or might not become reality, but it clearly demonstrates that commercial behemoth thinks it is feasible. Drones that have capacity 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. You can easily realize that the many governmental agencies already are 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 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 of the future with the authority of a genuine cop. As of this writing there are numerous companies already offering armed drones for crowd control with pepper-spray, rubber bullets, blinding lasers, ear-piercing audio etc. A drone built with high-definition cameras along with other light spectrum modes can easily identify targets in real-time linked to some mainframe. Several experts conclude there’s 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 quickly changing with each negative event accelerating certain unpopular agendas. Not saying that change is definitely bad, but we focus here on the effect it is wearing 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 just what we ought to not do; sacrifice liberties we fought so difficult for in the past merely to get yourself 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. Might know about be doing is discover the real 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 in the end what has happened so far and leaked to the general public there is 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 attended into existence during the last few years. Bitcoin is the most well-known of the while there have been 275 crypto currencies in existence as of 2014. One clear trend you can easily notice is their popularity is steadily increasing. The marketplace capitalization is a superb indicator of this although it is a bumpy ride with all the current speculators involved. The Bitcoin market cap happens to be around $4.3 billion, Ripple as a second is at $774 million and Litecoin as a third at $96 million. With economic and political issues affecting various countries on earth, more people begin to hedge their bets on the national currencies and use these crypto currencies that aren’t controlled by any government or entity. It is another exemplory case of how people rebel 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 pay the rotating credit repayments. The larger this burden, the lesser is 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 ensure the debt repayments happen. One very effective method of control is to have greater burdens on everybody’s shoulders. To help keep that control it is vital for those in capacity to restrict means of trading which cannot be easily monitored, taxed and controlled. God forbid visitors to actually miss 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 globe. At least 20 of these fit the category war. As of 2015 the rise of conflict areas in per year is worrying since components of such are starting to discover a way into the daily life of many people in stable communities. That alone could be bad or good if it awakens people to reality and see why these things happen, the story behind them and not just an indicator out of the blue. The next is really a limited list, in no particular order, of major ongoing conflicts which will keep growing:

– Democratic Republic of Congo, where the army of the ruling government is fighting with the M23 rebel group and religious tensions are flaring up between Christians and Muslims.

– Mali, where Islamist rebels are actively seeking to take over the 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 within 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 piece of Iraq.

– Iraq, struggling with 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 federal government forces. Part of it 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 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 almost all of the above conflict areas have an extended 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. Now that the BRICS countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) break into the “developed” countries club one must anticipate serious friction over market, influence, resources and territory. Internal conflicts, within countries, sometimes differ but often it involves a variety of one or more of the following causes: poor economy, corruption, police state, religious tensions, foreign influence, oppression, unpopular politics, extreme difference poor vs rich, racial inequality. The same old story for humanity as you may be thinking, yet another flavor and color.

Corporate Influence online & ICANN

There are 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 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 you should understand what ICANN is, taken from the ICANN website a short introduction:

” To reach another person on the Internet you need to type an address into your computer – a name or perhaps a number. That address must 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. This is a not-for-profit partnership of people 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 net. 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 a lot more worrying for the future of the internet since it exists now. Of-course it really is currently choosing between your lesser of evils until hopefully an improved solution is found. We have seen what happens when the so called “free market” takes over, often people will not benefit from this but again those who 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 be confident we will do so in a new article. Giant corporations like Facebook, Google, Amazon and others plan to provide internet services to poor regions on earth where there is none or hard to obtain online. Of-course it is not just because it creates 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 pressure from the corporate lobby. So you might want to have a look at how that is arranged in your country if at all.