Homeland security and national security has kept a stronghold on the minds of an overtaxed, overpriced and under-represented milieu that has been media-reported as the cross-section of middle-America. What has been less than represented for the proletariat may surface in the new frontier of technology; now foretold by The White House. The U.S. Government has approved coffers to cogs of legislation in 2012, spanning the Middle Class and tax relief and job creation, to improving relations with Israel to foster cooperative security abroad.
Tracking closely with the domestic and international security measures implemented is the U.S. Government description of nationwide provisions called, “cybersecurity:” A concern it has focused upon to create greater protections for Americans.
– “Cybersecurity policy includes strategy, policy and standards regarding the security of and operations in cyberspace, and encompasses the full range of threat reduction, vulnerability reduction, deterrence, international engagement, incident response, resiliency, and recovery policies and activities, including computer network operations, information assurance, law enforcement, diplomacy, military, and intelligence missions as they relate to the security and stability of the global information and communications infrastructure,” the 2012 U.S. Government Administration has noted.
The 2012 Administration has acknowledged the digital landscape of America’s Internet architecture is “not secure,” or “resilient.” The Administration included in a report that uniform changes in Internet security and how it is sustained will require re-examination and improved protections to make it safer to use by individuals.
“Our digital infrastructure has already suffered intrusions that have allowed criminals to steal hundreds of millions of dollars and nation-states and other entities to steal intellectual property and sensitive military information,” the Administration has said in its report.
“Other intrusions threaten to damage portions of our critical infrastructure,” the report mentions. “These and other risks have the potential to undermine the Nation’s confidence in the information systems that underlie our economic and national security interests.”
The “interests” noted in the report may source to other ‘protective’ implementations the United States Government and other entities have established with regard for the American public. Courtesy of the Patriot Act, the U.S. Government may utilize protective enhancements to monitor citizens at leisure.
Who’s watching? Perhaps state and local government (mobile and other) surveillance and monitoring-related systems:
Carnivore: an FBI system from the 1990s with the ability to “scan” Internet mail for the purpose of location keywords that would signal the possibility of malicious intent [now replaced by 21st century systems] (Joe B. Vaughan, Jr., ”The Suburban Manifesto: How To Get City Hall To Do Exactly What You Want,” CreatePress, 2010).
Intersection cameras: the “white flash” observed when turning through an intersection is a photograph that is taken of the vehicle’s license plate, “… a way for cities to make more revenue from drivers’ mistakes,” states Vaughan.
Public surveillance cameras: busy sections of cities, town and principalities (your local downtown district, concerts, densely populated areas, etc). Cameras may gather visuals of daily actions by persons without their knowledge regularly.
Business records: under the Patriot Act (Section 215), federal enforcement agencies or sectors may be allowed to subpoena a person or an entity for any “tangible” resource that may have a connection with an authorized investigation relating to terrorism. Personal data such as business records, medical statements, bank statements, and other transactions may be requested with zero probable cause.
Biometric ID: international travelers may experience biometric identification when passing through checkpoints. Biometric identification utilizes a fingerprint or a vocal emission from a person, by scanning the iris of an eye, or a vocal register. Personal identification is meted by 21st century verification of a body part in place of card, or a password in order to pass through an airline, or to enter a structure or a building. The Department of Homeland Security has included biometric identification for visitors to the United States implemented in January 2004.
Radio frequency identification: the tolls paid with public transportation fares, or during a daily commute can be tracked by ‘RFID.’ Fare-based passes update information with fare readers to tally balances after payments are completed by prepaid methods. Law enforcement agencies may access information from the toll-service station locations to source an individual’s presence. The stakes may rise with litigation: attorneys may share records of any travel activity captured by RFID during a court proceeding.
Geolocation tracking: the GPS function on a mobile device not only sends proprietary information from the mobile owner to friends, carrier and family. It may also provide location details to government agencies.
In April 2011, Apple Inc. released a public statement it did not track the locations of iPhone users. Public ire was expressed exuberantly, followed by complaints and a lawsuit when iPhone owners discovered their locations were reported after powering down the mobile device independently.
“The iPhone is not logging your location. Rather, it’s maintaining a database of Wi-Fi hotspots and cell towers around your current location, some of which may be located more than one hundred miles away from your iPhone to help your iPhone rapidly and accurately calculate its location when requested,” Apple Inc. responded.
The information shared and transported across the Information Highway is perhaps the new pervasion of the cyber-century. Whether local, governmental, or third-party applications are monitoring personal data, data is transmitted across cyber and carrier waves. Displaced and stateless persons may source non-partisan protection information at the UNHCR and UNHCR.org.