Knowledge Is Key
For Intelligent Decisions

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authoritative source of information in
the Satellite Industry. Located in the
heart of the Silicon Valley, Satellite
Logic provides one of the most
valuable and comprehensive
knowledge bases on the Satellite
market! This is a primary Worldwide
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clients to analyze, evaluate, inquire
and select their best tailored
solutions. Our company sets the
industry standards for targeted
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Since satellites started photographing Earth from space nearly four
decades ago, their images have inspired excitement, introspection, and
often, fear. Like all information, satellite imagery is in itself neutral. But
satellite imagery is a particularly powerful sort of information, revealing
both comprehensive vistas and surprising details. Its benefits can be
immense, but so can its costs.

These new commercial satellites will make it possible for the buyers of
satellite imagery to distinguish between trucks and tanks, expose
movements of large groups of people, identify the probable location of
natural resources and examine environmental changes. Whether this
will be good or bad depends on who chooses to use the imagery and
how. There is no way to guarantee benevolent use of satellite images.
Governments, corporations, and even small groups of individuals could
use commercial imagery to collect intelligence, conduct industrial
espionage, plan terrorist attacks, or mount military operations. And
even when intentions are good, it can be remarkably difficult to derive
accurate, useful information from the heaps of transmitted data. The
media have already made major mistakes, misinterpreting images and
misidentifying objects, including the number of reactors on fire during
the Chernobyl nuclear accident in 1986.

It is more and more difficult to hide information, not only because of
improvements in technology but also because of changing concepts
about who is entitled to have access to what information. Across issues
and around the world, the idea that governments, corporations, and
other concentrations of political and economic power are obliged to
provide information about themselves is gaining ground.

In politics, several countries are enacting or strengthening freedom-of-
information laws that give citizens the right to examine government
records. In environmental issues, the current hot topic is regulation by
revelation, in which polluters are required not to stop polluting but to
reveal publicly just how much they are polluting. Such requirements
have had dramatic effects, shaming many companies into drastically
reducing noxious emissions. In arms control, mutual inspections of
sensitive military facilities have become so commonplace that it is easy
to forget how revolutionary the idea was a decade or two ago. As
democratic norms spread, as civil society grows stronger and more
effective in its demands for information, as globalization gives people
an ever-greater stake in knowing what is going on in other parts of the
world, and as technology makes such knowledge easier to attain,
increased transparency is the wave of the future.

The legitimacy of remote-sensing satellites themselves is part of this
trend toward transparency. Images from high-resolution satellites are
becoming available now not only because technology has advanced to
the point of making them a potential source of substantial profits, but
because government policies permit and even encourage them to
operate. Yet governments are concerned about just how far this new
source of transparency should be allowed to go. The result is inconsistent
policies produced by the conflicting desires of states to both promote and
control the free flow of satellite imagery. Although fears about the impact
of the new satellites are most often expressed in terms of potential
military vulnerabilities, in fact their impact is likely to be far more
sweeping. They shift power from the former holders of secrets to the
newly informed. That has implications for national sovereignty, for the
ability of corporations to keep proprietary information secret, and for the
balance of power between government and those outside it.

The new satellite systems challenge sovereignty directly. If satellite
operators are permitted to photograph any site anywhere and sell the
images to anyone, governments lose significant control over information
about their turf. Under international law, countries have no grounds for
objecting to being imaged from space. There is a major economic
concern as well. Corporations with access to satellite imagery may know
more about a country's natural resources than does the country's own
government, putting officials at a disadvantage when negotiating
agreements such as drilling rights or mining contracts. Corporations may
also feel a new sense of vulnerability if they are observed by competitors
trying to keep tabs on the construction of new production facilities or to
estimate the size of production runs by analyzing emissions. This is not
corporate espionage as usually defined, because satellite imaging is
thoroughly legal. But it could make it difficult for corporations to keep
their plans and practices secret.

The number of people able to use satellite imagery is exploding. In the
coming years a growing number of commercial satellites will have
imaging capabilities, approaching those of military spy satellites.
Nevertheless, the commercial satellites will possess one key difference:
their operators will sell the images to anyone. Enjoy!

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