Friday, February 8, 2013

Eyes in the Sky

Satellite imagery has been highly developed in recent years, so much so that it has become a topic of dispute among those who feel it is used to invade personal privacy.  While there may be questions unanswered as to how satellites might be used to monitor specific individuals, there is certainty that satellite imagery is a highly useful and versatile tool.  The resolution of these satellites has become so advanced that they can capture details as small at 50 centimeters- thats smaller than a person's arm!  With satellites of this quality hovering above Earth's atmosphere, any detail, action, or event could be recorded at any time.  In the context of human rights, these satellites prove to be invaluable to activists around the world.  For example, in the article: Eyes in the sky: Remote sensing in the service of human rights, the author presents details of the events occurring on May 6-10 of 2009 in Sri Lanka.  On May 6, there were 196 burials in a graveyard located in a "civilian safe-zone" in northeast Sri Lanka; four days later, there were 77 more graves- indicating a large number of people had died in a short period of time.  These images are hard evidence of human rights violations, in this case, mass murder, and these images are in the hands of activists all over the world in the blink of an eye.  No more can oppressive third world leaders hide heinous acts such as the mass murder that occurred in Sri Lanka- these acts are caught on film.  I think, in this way, these satellites can be used for the greater good of humanity, not as tools of the government, but as a "voice" of the victims.  Justice will come to those who commit acts against humanity, and advanced satellite imagery can help to swiftly deliver it. 

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