Experts are beginning to worry that satellite imagery that is viewable by programs such as Google Earth are just too good

The increasing availability of commercial satellite photos has made some intelligence and satellite experts nervous.  Vice Adm. Robert Murrett, director of the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, a small U.S. spy agency, believes that some satellite photos should be limited from the public for security purposes. Murrett wants the U.S. Government to restrict access to high-resolution imagery.

Murrett participates in geospatial intelligence, a growing field which studies images to help examine activities. “If there was a situation where any imagery products were being used by adversaries to kill Americans, I think we should act,” Murrett said during a rare interview.

He later admitted that there are a number of scenarios where high-resolution imagery should not be used here or overseas.

U.S. Spy satellites were previously used, especially during the Cold War, as a secret military asset to gain intelligence. However, companies such as Geoeye and Digital Globe launched commercial satellites which share many of images with the public. Both companies are ready to launch new satellites that will allow users to view even higher-resolution photographs, but with several guidelines. The National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency will help the company limit the quality of public images to a resolution ranging somewhere around a half-meter.

Google Earth is powered by companies such as Geoeye and Digital Globe. India considered filing an official complaint against Google Earth, claiming the program allowed people to view state secrets.  The government was concerned after images showed around six or seven state-of-the-art fighter craft.

"It seems as though my state-funded math degree has failed me. Let the lashings commence." -- DailyTech Editor-in-Chief Kristopher Kubicki
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