Though it has remained officially unsaid, the powers that be have all-but-officially designated the American people as their enemy in a foggy battleground that has become global, nebulous, highly technological and extremely paranoid.
Homeland Security and FBI protocol have set the stage for profiling Americans as potential threats, while the rising police state have often cracked down with a heavy hand and perhaps a SWAT raid. The War on Terror, global jihad, cyber attacks and a new Cold War have all contributed the necessary pretexts for an atmosphere of control and preemptive suspicion that seemingly justifies total surveillance of the population.
USCYBERCOM, activated by the federal government in 2009 and operated by the director of the NSA, adds a whole new dimension to that, by bringing home – to computer screens and devices everywhere – the cyberwar.
And since that time, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange became the first civilian designated, according to declassified information, as a military-designated “enemy of the state.” Many SWAT raids, FBI and police visits have now resulted from alleged threatening or offensive Internet activity. Likewise, StuxNet became the first major cyber attack against Iran, a (perceived) military threat. More recently, we’ve seen major cyber warfare exchanges with North Korea, resulting in an Internet blackout there following the SONY hacking scandal and diplomatic standoff over a Hollywood film.
As Daniel Taylor, of Old Thinker News, points out, the militarization and weaponization of the digital space has been a long time coming, and it might mutate into a conflict wide enough to involve you and your online activities. His article, “NSA Cyber War Will Use Internet of Things as Weapons Platform; Your Home is the Battlefield” argues:
As time goes on it will be readily apparent to the masses that the monumental surveillance architecture that will catalog and track the population is nothing more than an attempt at full spectrum domination.
New Snowden documents recently revealed that the NSA is getting ready for future digital wars as the agency postures itself in an aggressive manner towards the world. “The Five Eyes Alliance“, a cooperation between United States, Canada, Britain, Australia, and New Zealand, is working hard to develop these weapons of Cyber Warfare.
So called “D” weapons, as reported by Der Spiegel, will paralyze computer networks and infrastructure that they monitor. Water supplies, factories, airports, as well as the flow of money are all potential targets.
Simultaneously, while handing out tech goodies to consumers, the American people have also become their dupes, their sheep and their eyes. Through the digitalization of the planet, cyberspace has brought home a front that is equal parts transformative, enticing and eerily grim.
The Edward Snowden leaks constituted notice to the world that all things digital are subject to surveillance – a total and complete surveillance that includes the participation of the population who, through carrying various “smart” devices that capture data, images and audio for meta-analysis – are feeding the powers that be with vast catalogs of spy information – including valuable proprietary consumer data. Taylor notes:
The NSA’s Cyber Weapons program will undoubtedly exploit these devices, which include household appliances, and, frighteningly, medical devices that can be hacked. Pacemakers can be remotely stopped, and insulin pumps can be made to deliver a lethal dose of insulin. With the advent of implantable devices that communicate via Wifi, the potential for manipulation and hacking is growing exponentially.
If the developers of these internet connected devices don’t willingly work with the NSA to place back-doors in the technology, the agency is hard at work trying to find and exploit them.
Through the emerging Internet of Things (IoT), household appliances, smart meters, street lights and more will create a total digital picture of life, capturing real time data per appliance that creates a total information grid. Taylor writes:
The Der Spiegel report does not mention the wider issue of the expanding network of everyday objects and appliances that are connected to the internet. According to CIA chief David Patraeus the Internet of Things will have a monumental impact on “clandestine tradecraft.” Richard Adhikari writes for Tech News World that the Internet of Things is “…ripe for exploitation by the NSA”
Consumer appliances are now becoming activated and “smart.” RFID chips and wireless internet connections enable devices like televisions, refrigerators, printers, and computers to communicate with each other and generally make life easier for us. This comes at a price, however. Your privacy is eliminated.
This digital surveillance age does not make spying on persons of interest merely possible or probable in any theoretical sense. Instead, it is a living matrix that defaults to spying. It is set up to flag aberrant and eccentric behavior and patterns, and will prompt a due response – whether you have done anything wrong or not.
The scheduled blurring of legitimate military targets and average civilian members of the population will present a different type of war, with weaponized information and data. Putting it all in perspective, Taylor cites a media pioneer from a time before the digital age had dawned:
“World War III is a guerrilla information war with no division between military and civilian participation.” – Marshall McLuhan, Culture is Our Business, 1970
Such a war will likely be the ultimate battle between the individual and the state. Unless stopped or slowed, it will accomplish, systematically, what no Cold War secret agency working on the ground and in the shadows could ever hope to gain.