Prevent Global 24/7 Real-time Monitoring via private satellite network

Prevent Global 24/7 Real-time Monitoring via private satellite network

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anon anon started this petition to President Donald J. Trump and

If money equals speech then the majority of Earth's people are voiceless in the face of the obscene profits of massive international corporations and celebrity individuals. I, as one middle-income person, could never hope have enough influence to stand in the way of the agendas of the rich and powerful. I, as may you, wish only to live and enjoy life as well as I can and bother no one. Yet the intrusions into our lives never seem to end.

Soon five hundred (500) advanced imaging satellites owned and manufactured by a private company called EarthNow, their components manufactured by OneWeb, will begin to orbit our planet. Their function will be to scan every square inch of the planet, and then - in their own words - “deliver real-time, continuous video of almost anywhere on Earth.”

You may ask, don't our present satellites do this already? The EarthNow project is similar in some ways to current observation technology, but differs crucially in others.

Google Earth gets much of their imagery from LANDSAT (Land Remote-Sensing Satellite System). LANDSAT, which has been in operation since 1972, tracks changes on the earth over time. It comprises several different kinds of satellites, planes of various kinds at various altitudes, drones, and balloons, and makes its data open and accessible to anyone who requests it.

You've probably noticed when zooming in that at some point Google Earth begins to blur. For a long time the government banned commercial satellite imagery with a resolution better than 50 cm/pixel from being released to the public. In 2014, after intense lobbying by DigitalGlobe, one of the leaders in commercial geo-imagery, they relaxed this restriction to allow resolutions down to 25cm/pixel. This is the current legal limit for commercial satellites in the US (government satellites are, of course, another story). And companies often comply with other restrictions. For example, in the US the Kyl-Bingaman Amendment prohibits the collection and release of imagery over Israel of greater than 2m/pixel. DigitalGlobe, complies with this law and explains it on their website, although their WorldView-3 satellite can provide imagery at 31cm/pixel resolution.

Another difference is the age of the data. Current satellite systems deliver pictures and sometimes video clips to users and these are obtainable typically hours or days after they are requested. Most of the imagery that is seen on Google Earth is between one (1) and three (3) years old. You can see how old the view is by looking at the lower end of the screen.

According to EarthNow founder and CEO Russell Hannigan “with existing systems, users can see only what has happened in the past. With EarthNow’s constellation of satellites, you will see events unfold as they happen in real-time.” So the difference between EarthNow and present satellite observation systems is that with current systems you are viewing something that happened anywhere from hours to years ago. EarthNow will be watching every place and everyone in real-time, continuous video.

And who will get this real-time, continuous video? According to EarthNow's press release, the resulting data will first be used to provide “commercial video and intelligent vision services to a range of government and enterprise customers.” Next, EarthNow plans to enable "smart cities to become more efficient, providing on-demand data about crop health, and observing conflict zones around the world." Eventually data will be provided to ordinary users with smart phone apps. EarthNow plans, in their words, to “create live Earth video mass market applications that can be accessed instantly from a smartphone or tablet” and “instantly create ‘living’ 3D models of a town or city, even in remote locations.”

You can get an idea of this by visiting the USGS website and viewing the real-time passes of LANDSAT satellites 7 and 8. You will notice that you are moving quickly through space. You will also notice there is not a great deal of detail. Now imagine you can move in to a single spatial point and zoom up close enough to watch your children playing in the yard.

All companies use favorable language to describe their products and services. But anyone with any sense of forethought can see where this is going. Where you live, the friends you have over to your backyard BBQ, when you leave for work, how you get there, and when you come home, all would be viewable - in real time, with a latency of perhaps one second - by anyone with enough money to buy a subscription. With these satellites, a corporation or individual could know everything about you, your family, where you go and what you do. EarthNow is a terrifying prospect that should frighten any conscious individual.

Despite claims to the contrary, this is not about whale migrations or monitoring climate change. Colleges, zoologists and animal welfare organizations have been successfully tracking the habits of animals for over fifty years now with other modern tools. Meteorologists and climatologists successfully observe weather and make accurate predictions. We already have GPS and other satellite based technologies.

This is not about helping the planet. This is about private surveillance. This is about data mining on a planetary scale. Imagine watching and being watched twenty-four hours a day for the rest of your life. With the vision suggested by EarthNow, personal observation of anyone - by anyone - would be inescapable. Your children would be born and live under this continuous scrutiny after you. You couldn't avoid it by moving to another town, another state, another country. You can't fly to another planet. Where would you go if you didn't want to be monitored?

There are others who want to stop this. In a Newsweek article by Robert Valencia on 4/21/18 he reported “This year, Russia’s telecommunications regulator Roskomnadzor rejected OneWeb’s access to project its signals over that country, in addition to the fear that satellites would collide.” Russia is only one of the countries pushing back against this satellite surveillance. China and India are also extremely resistant. As far back as 2006, then India’s Deputy National Security Adviser Vijay Nambiar argued to limit the collection and release of high resolution imagery of India. And there are likely more to come. Stefan Geens, who runs Ogle Earth, a blog discussing the political, social and scientific impacts of geospatial imagery, says, “The next battleground is gearing up to be space law, with some states lobbying UN agencies to bring control over satellite imagery within their jurisdiction.”

Everyday we cede more and more of the territory of our lives. Previously cherished rights like privacy and freedom of movement are being captured by corporations like Facebook and Amazon and repackaged and sold back to us in the form of “information.”

I say ABSOLUTELY NOT to being spied on for the rest of my life, and the lives of my children and their children. I say ABSOLUTELY NOT to being observed continuously by anyone who has enough money for an EarthNow subscription. I say endless money ABSOLUTELY DOES NOT equal unlimited power. I know I will do everything in my power to STOP the development of the EarthNow panopticon.

Please join me and take back your personal power and reclaim your right to exist free of global privatized surveillance. It's your world, start acting like it! Sign this petition and tell others about EarthNow and ask them to sign this too. Tell everyone you know that you are vehemently against the EarthNow satellite panopticon and that you reject the worldwide trend of tacit surveillance. The future depends on your action, the powers that be depend on your inaction.


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