By Nicholas West
APRIL 20, 2018
The emergence of low-cost micro satellites has spawned a global surveillance arms race: the familiar problem-reaction-solution paradigm upon what all other arms races are built. It is a topic that I began covering last year when where I detailed the little-known connection between commercial imagery vendor DigitalGlobe and the also little-known U.S. agency GEOINT, as well as other smaller players contributing to the growing arms race of space-based surveillance. The result would be satellites “the mass of a pair of toasters,” that could collect imagery and automate searches as needed.
The Denver Post revealed that in 2014 it was DigitalGlobe who successfully petitioned the U.S. government in 2014 to remove previous restrictions on the sale of higher-resolution images to non-government buyers thus opening up domestic and international commercial applications for this sensitive data.
As if merely working on ways to create tiny satellites that can collect and store data from every square inch of the the planet isn’t enough, DARPA has been funding a project that literally embraces the web it is creating: SPIDER. Read more about that here.
Amid this frenzy of investment in space-based surveillance that could become the ultimate Big Brother technology, once again arch technocrat Bill Gates has felt compelled to get involved. And the projected billion-dollar program he is backing could become the most comprehensive of the offerings I have come across, including access to streaming HD video in real-time for any location on the planet.