Spatial Privacy at Risk: NAO, GEOINT and AT&T


All Points has pointed out an excellent in-depth writeup by CorpWatch describing the GEOINT conference held here in San Antonio.

Speaking of San Antonio and spatial privacy, take a look at what AT&T (also headquartered here) has been up to.

Bob Blakley points out a highly relevant article describing how AT&T gave the feds full access to massive amounts of internet traffic without any warrants.

Now that AT&T has rolled out remote monitoring, this potentially gives the government access to a lot more imagery. In effect the DHS has outsourced spying not just to corporations, but to private citizens as well.

Couple this with AT&T’s RFID program, and the spatial privacy issues become even more apparent. No doubt webcams tied to RFID readers can be programmed to follow certain RFID tags through space.

How would you like it if, for instance, one day you realized your underwear was reporting on your whereabouts?

— California State Senator Debra Bowen, at a 2003 hearing as quoted by wikipedia.

Even with all the spying tools though, AT&T decided to cut back on telecommuting anyway. Maybe they just don’t want to risk having the feds spy on their telecommuters communications. Better keep’em safe behind the firewall.

This copy of a Wall Street Journal article makes me wonder how much we in the civilian geospatial community are being co-opted:

James Devine, a senior adviser to the director of the Geological Survey, who is chairman of the committee now overseeing satellite-access requests, said traditional users of the spy-satellite data in the scientific community are concerned that their needs will be marginalized in favor of security concerns. Mr. Devine said DHS has promised him that won’t be the case, and also has promised to include a geological official on a new interagency executive oversight committee that will monitor the activities of the National Applications Office.


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