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9 de Mayo 2007

US National GIA Discusses Censoring Satellite Photos

The Associated Press has published a story (picked up by all the news media) after interviewing Vice Adm. Robert Murrett, director of the US National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA). This organization oversees and funds sources of satellite photos used by both defense organizations as well as imagery for public consumption. Digital Globe, the primary source of satellite photos for Google Earth, has already benefited from government funds. With the help of about $1 billion from Murrett's agency, Digital Globe, and its competitor GeoEye, plan to launch new satellites with higher resolutions later this year. Government regulations will require resulting satellite photos shared publicly from these satellites to be at a resolution no better than .5 meters per pixel.

Interestingly, Murrett says: "I could certainly foresee circumstances in which we would not want imagery to be openly disseminated of a sensitive site of any type, whether it is here or overseas." He goes on to say they may exert "control over" imagery in some unspecified manner to sensitive locations. This could mean not allowing imagery for certain locations to be shared, or somehow altering imagery for those locations.

Some industry experts believe it may be difficult for one agency to limit the dissemination of such imagery. There are image providers now from several international satellite companies as well as aerial photographers. And the demand for high resolution photos for applications like Google Earth is increasing. "...this cat may be out of the bag for good. It's just not clear that the legal or other tools needed to restrict disclosure are available." So says Steve Aftergood, a secrecy expert with the Federation of American Scientists.

via SlashGeo via SlashDot.

Enviado por FrankTaylor at 9 de Mayo 2007 a las 03:22 PM

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  • Comentarios

    The acronym for the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency is NGA, by the way.

    Enviado por: Bryce at 9 de Mayo 2007 a las 06:58 PM

    I think if the NGA was interested in preventing terrorist threats from obtaining maps of "sensative areas" around the globe, then the NGA might benefit more by monitoring those interested in those "sensative areas" rather than attempting to censor those "sensative areas".

    The analogy is simple, really. No area is supposedly "safe" from a terrorist threat, if that area is deemed only sensative enough as a target by a terrorist threat. The idea then alludes that all areas are potential targets - thus, my house too should be considered for censoring.

    But with this logic, we must censor all imagery. And we must assume that terrorists care most about some targets even though most of the targets that they seem to go for are never deemed "sensative areas."

    Interesting how the paranoia works, isn't it? Is it just me, or is it simply a way to gain more tax money from the tax-payer that drives these ideas - or is it simply the act of "doing something" that they think will appease the tax-payer at the end of the day?

    I'm still a little confused on the logic I see coming from not only those who discuss this issue - but frankly, the agencies who continue to push forward with more redaction initiatives.

    And the irony? Who really suffers? That comes to me as rather obvious when one sits to think about it for even a brief moment.

    Enviado por: Daniel at 13 de Mayo 2007 a las 09:42 PM

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