It’s always sad when you’re told you have to hold back on the best things you can produce. This situation has been true and probably particularly irritating for US companies like Digitalglobe, who last week, according to this article, went to the US government to ask for permission to sell higher quality images to a public that wants it. The article came to me through a tweet from @DigitalGlobe.
The problem has always been that Digitalglobe can produce higher quality images, but those particular images are for US government use only, or must go through the government to get its blessing, before release. I guess there may be some fear that allowing higher quality images out in public will just let the bad guys (whoever they’re defined to be today) get their hands on the good stuff. Never mind there are a hundredfold more good ideas and applications for these images.
And it slows companies like Digitalglobe down. Next year, they want to put the best satellite and imagery sensor they can, Worldview-3, in low earth orbit. They have customers, according to the article, that are demanding their product. But the government, a great testament to business efficiency and well-known for risk-taking, will decide just what Digitalglobe’s customers will get.
This is almost like the encryption debate in the 90’s, when the US government controlled encryption as munitions, and it therefore wasn’t allowed to be exported. Eventually sanity (or politics) allowed encryption such as PGP to be legal and used everywhere–and thanks to current events, we know just how well that encryption works (as well as why opponents to it fell silent)…
- There Is No Way To Keep Your Data From The NSA (techweekeurope.co.uk)
- Building a PGP web of trust that people will actually use (bitcoinism.blogspot.com)
- Five Revelations from Snowden’s Newest Leak (swampland.time.com)