Satellites are called “eyes in the sky” and they can now see more than ever before, putting at risk your personal privacy and the privacy of sovereign countries. This has privacy advocates worried.
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“The risks arise not only from the satellite images themselves but the fusion of Earth observation data with other sources of data,” Martinez told Cnet.
Satellites do a lot of good, including helping farmers monitor crops, geologists better examine rock textures, meteorologists predict weather and human rights agencies track refugee movements.
But tech advancement has moved beyond these and it is now possible to find firms that offer live videos from space, radar sensing and hyperspectral images that capture electromagnetic wavelength outside the visible spectrum.
U.S. federal regulation limits images taken by commercial satellites to a resolution of 25 centimeters, meaning it is not supposed to be possible to see people’s faces or car number plates, according to Planet Labs.
“Our imagery is ideal for monitoring large-scale change on a daily basis. This includes seeing daily change across buildings and roads, forests, in agriculture, bodies of water and more,” a spokesperson for Planet Labs told Cnet.
Privacy advocates, however, warn that innovation in satellite imagery is outpacing the ability of governments to regulate the technology. Stricter limits may be needed to keep a lid on private companies in the satellite-imaging business.