Curated by: Luigi Canali De Rossi

Saturday, September 11, 2004

Blinded Skies: Government To Close Access To Satellite Images

Big Bro to close our eyes to (and from) the skies?

A yet to approved Senate bill would provide the ability to the US Government to basically put off limits all of the images coming off from research and monitoring satellites.

"Nondisclosure of Certain Products of Commercial Satellite Operations," would exempt from the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), unclassified, commercial satellite pictures bought up by the government, as well as "any... other product that is derived from such data.

In simple words: forget public access to satellite data you have been viewing.

NASA images, weather maps, geological and agricultural data could be put off-limits, as well as "maps, reports, and any other unclassified government analyses or communications that are in some way 'derived from' a commercial satellite image would all of a sudden become inaccessible."

Barbara Cochran, head of the Radio-Television News Directors Association, notes, that satellite image data provide the press with critical information that is sometimes pivotal in understanding macro issues from weather to war to population shifts. Recent uses include:

  • coverage of the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts;

  • nuclear and other WMD sites in Iran, Pakistan, India, Libya, North Korea, China, and other countries
  • ;
  • flooding in Bangladesh and Eastern India;

  • deforestation in Brazil;

  • wildfires and tornadoes in the United States;

  • and refugee crises in the Sudan [and] Rwanda".

In a letter to the US Congress Barbara Cochran personally stated:

"This new FOIA exemption would result in taxpayer dollars being used to preclude the media from adequately informing the public about matters of critical importance that in no way implicate the national security."

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Reference: Defensetech [ Read more ]
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posted by Robin Good on Saturday, September 11 2004, updated on Tuesday, May 5 2015

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