Big Brother Is Tracking You. Without a Warrant.
The sky was nearly cloudless on Aug. 19, 1960, when Capt. Harold E. Mitchell took off from Hawaii in his stubby C-119 Flying Boxcar. A short time later, in the blackness of space, an orbiting satellite ejected a small film capsule that tumbled earthward protected by a heat shield. When it reached the lower atmosphere, a parachute deployed, and it began a slow descent over the South Pacific. Then, like an outfielder catching a pop fly, Captain Mitchell snagged the falling object — on his third try — in a trapeze-like contraption on the nose of his plane. In that instant, satellite espionage was born. Inside the capsule were thousands of images of Soviet territory never before seen by American intelligence. Forty-three years later, satellite imagery similar to that collected by the Central Intelligence Agency is available to anyone with a credit card. From detailed shots of India’s nuclear sites, to high-resolution pictures of a neighbor’s backyard, reconnaissance satellite images have become as easy to obtain as a novel from Amazon.com. In fact, much of them are free for the taking from the Internet. Full Story