Democratizing of Intelligence

Back when the news of the alleged CIA prisons broke, Wired News asked: Can Satellites ID CIA Prisons?.

Satellite images could help determine if the CIA ran secret prisons in Europe, according to a Swiss lawmaker who is drawing up a report on the issue for the Council of Europe human rights watchdog.

The idea was commercially available sateilleite imagery, like that from GoogleEarth and Microsoft Local, could provided detailed analysis on the cheap. The problem with these services is the timliness of the imagery. GoogleEarth pics are 3 - 5 years out of date. Microsoft Local apparently has the same age, but are taken at a lower altitude and includes various viewing angles.

The democratization of IMGINT is significant and one more brick out of the wall seperating state secrets from Citizen X.

DefenseTech has a thread about GoogleEarth originating from about when it came out. Pictures of Area 51 drew a lot of attention, as did some other areas, including the fact Cheney's residence was obscured but other prominent locations were not (adding further fuel to the Legend of Cheney).

From elsewhere...

This is of an AT&T command and control center for east coast military communications, its anyones guess what is going on there now... Rather a quaint little place, with about 180 parking spaces, I wonder if the neighbors know what goes on there.

And this from The Register, a contest to find odd things in geo-pics, such as a flying car captured on GoogleEarth.

And when DefenseTech.org comes back online, go here for their GoogleEarth commentary (apparently the Area51 pics are now obscured based on a comment I saw somewhere).