I've gotten several emails with reference to the technical capabilities of the equipment Bob worked with in my recent book "Can You See Me Now?", in which people said, basically, "I think you stretched things a bit too much."
Okay. I'm not in that business. But I have a brain. I want you to watch a short video, but before you do, let me set the scene.
First, the technology in this video is classified so heavily that they won't even let you see the outside of it, much less the interior design and parts.
Second, with the first in mind, I'm pretty sure they also didn't disclose the full capabilities of this system. And what they do disclose is pretty close to what I described in parts of the book. You can imagine how much more it will do, and you can bet your bippie that it will do much more than they show.
Third, they built this "on the cheap" and in a hurry, using off the shelf technology. So when they saw how great this worked, you think they didn't say "Let's see what the expensive version will do?"
Fourth, they won't admit whether the system (which is now several years old) is actually being deployed within the borders of the United States.
Now, with all that said, I admit this technology is being deployed in a drone, rather than a satellite. So if you want to quibble about me using satellites in the book, knock yourself out. No ... wait ... if they can put it in a drone, they can put it in a satellite. And if it's gotten even better, they'd be silly not to. People can detect drone surveillance. Radar is all you need. But if a satellite is looking at you, there's no way to know.
The fact is they can read a business card from space. Will you see that in a youtube video? Nope. But that doesn't mean I'm full of shit.
Okay, so why am I posting this? Well I also get a lot of email about Edward Snowden, asking what I think should happen to him.
Fact is that, according to most of the analysts you hear from in the media (which I admit is fairly slanted) the "most dangerous" thing he exposed was that "millions of people's emails and phone calls were being captured", which could then be viewed or listened to by government agents as they invade your privacy.
And the fact is that, if they have that much information (remember this drone surveillance is producing multiple terabytes of data per day), it would take more "government agents" than the entire population of the United States to sift through all that data. Even if they use computer programs to do the sifting, looking for certain key words, the number of "leads" they can assign to a human being to investigate is so immense that they can only choose a few percent of them to actually look at.
Same with drone surveillance. Unless you're a criminal, or a terrorist, whose activities or speech alert the authorities to take notice of you, the chances that your phone calls, emails, or physical movements will ever be "spied" on are so vanishing small that you'd be more likely to win the Powerball two days in a row.
Should we be concerned about the loss of our privacy?
Have they encroached on our individual privacy enough to be worried?
Not so much.
What we should be concerned about are those elected officials whose behavior establishes that they don't put the same value on privacy that we do. It is their broad moral and ethical stances that pose a danger to us, not the tools they have at their disposal.
It's like the saying that guns don't kill people. People kill people. It isn't gun control we need, it's violent and/or insane people control.
But that's another blot entry.
And all that said ... the book is for fun, to be enjoyed. It's not a political or ethical condemnation.
To be reminded that the sun can cause sunburn, does not mean you can't ever go outside again.
Now, for that video I was talking about. Interesting stuff. https://www.youtube.com/v/AHrZgS-Gvi4
Thanks for reading.