Democratizing of Intelligence

Back when the news of the alleged CIA prisons broke, Wired News asked: Can Satellites ID CIA Prisons?.

Satellite images could help determine if the CIA ran secret prisons in Europe, according to a Swiss lawmaker who is drawing up a report on the issue for the Council of Europe human rights watchdog.

The idea was commercially available satellite imagery, like that from Google Earth and Microsoft Local, could provide detailed analysis on the cheap. The problem with these services is the timeliness of the imagery. GoogleEarth pics are 3 – 5 years out of date. Microsoft Local apparently has the same age, but is taken at a lower altitude and includes various viewing angles.

The democratization of IMGINT is significant and one more brick out of the wall separating state secrets from Citizen X.

DefenseTech has a thread about Google Earth originating from about
when it came out. Pictures of Area 51 drew a lot of attention, as did
some other areas, including the fact Cheney’s residence was obscured
but other prominent locations were not (adding further fuel to the
Legend of Cheney).

From elsewhere…

This is of an AT&T command and control center for east coast military communications, its anyones guess what is going on there now… Rather a quaint little place, with about 180 parking spaces, I wonder if the neighbors know what goes on there.

And this from The Register, a contest to find odd things in geo-pics, such as a flying car captured on Google Earth.

And when comes back online, go here for their GoogleEarth commentary (apparently the Area51 pics are now obscured based on a comment I saw somewhere).

2 thoughts on “Democratizing of Intelligence

  1. I didn’t realise “GoogleEarth pics are 3 – 5 years out of date.”All that media hype about security concerns appears to have less basis.
    I assume GoogleEarth will go for near real time mapping next (same day etc). A whole new game for the internet.

  2. See and find an image, look at the provider list, the date taken, and then the price list. You can already contract for these photos.The Pentagon buys all “air time” of satellites over combat theatres when it can, such as it did during Iraq I and II.
    There is a consolidation in US commercial imagery.

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