25. "Watching Over Us"

For years the satellite-spy-industry has flourished as a result of the "cold-war-fever" that plagued the United States and the Soviet Union: Extremely sensitive American and Soviet satellites have been orbiting the Earth with military objectives for years.

Today a complex "civilian" spy network has nurtured with roots in the U.S. government structure and scientific community. The use of satellites, government bureaus and their corporate counterparts, are a far more efficient tool for resource exploitation and social control.

The use of aerial photography and satellite imagery in the decision-making processes of local, state, and federal government is widespread. A spin-off from years of military development and space-age computerization, it is now apparent that individual collective privacy is being threatened from sources unseen.

State governments usually use aerial photography and satellite imagery for road and highway planning as well as floodplain mapping. The infamous U-2 is being used in California for a variety of purposes. Local governments have used remote-sensing technology for tax assessment purposes and land ownership.

Photos and images of the major cities have, and will, be used for such functions as allocation of police patrols, civil defense planning, and identification of housing conditions.

Police use of satellites has been in practice for some time. Marijuana and opium fields have been located from space. Most popular with police agencies is the infrared sensing device, found commonly aboard American and Soviet satellites. These can be used to observe individuals through solid objects, like walls.

Because we cannot see satellites passing overhead and aerial activity is not connected with government and corporate decisions, we, the citizenry, are unaware of the near-constant monitoring of our persons and property. There are no legal safeguards protecting us from possible abuses. Users of remote sensing technology satellite devices are protected from action taken against them by legal statutes; that is, there is no body of law which specifically defines courtroom statutes of remote sensing.

Due to the lack of publicity and apparent public unawareness of this activity, this story is nominated as one of the "best censored stories of 1977."

SOURCE:

"Surveilling the Earth," by Don Jordan, Current, December, 1977, pp. 34-42.