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High-Resolution Satellites

Page history last edited by Paul Nicholas Santos 6 years, 6 months ago

Title of the Essay:

     High-resolution satellites: are our privacy expectations too high?, Kate Baucherel, April 29, 2015


Title of the Reflection:

     Personal privacy or for the betterment of society?


First Impression:

     After reading the title, my first assumption was that the article will talk about privacy in relation to the use of satellites. 



     “We are being hypocritical if we claim satellite evidence of our ‘private’ actions should not be published; we are being inconsiderate when their inadvertent exposure in a satellite sweep is part of a much bigger agenda, which could change our world for the better.” – Kate Baucherel


Reflection Proper:

     Whenever we are going to talk about who will benefit from who, we need to weigh-in which one will give a better outcome. This outcome also has some pros and cons into it; however, I believe, nothing in this world will always be one-sided, like something that gives all pros and without a single con. 

     In relation to the main topic of the article, which talks about satellite imaging being used for surveillance of the citizens of earth, as a lot of people see it that way, and security in terms of privacy, we need to weigh-in which one will give more benefit to us as a society of human beings or even as a specie living on earth.

      Looking into the pros and cons of using satellite imaging, the pros it give would greatly serve us. First, it can be used to survey the current condition of the environment, like computing the amount of deforestation that is going on in certain parts of the world, the amount of trash floating in the ocean, the amount in which the ozone hole is getting bigger and bigger, etc… Second, it can predict which areas are hazardous and which ones will be hazardous when a natural calamity occurs. A good example of this would be the following: Areas in which a landslide will occur, areas in which the tornado will go through, areas which will be flooded once a tornado hits, the amount of destruction a landslide, an earthquake or a tornado cost, etc… Third would be for economic and humanitarian reasons, which will help our government and, in effect, help us as well. A good example would be to plot areas that will be great to put roads at in order to efficiently and effectively lessen the amount of traffic, to measure the amount of land owned by a person and to tax him or her for it, etc… As for the con of using satellite imaging, it can be used to for surveillance purposes; thus, it is a breach of privacy for all of us since we are all affected by the said technology as a species of this planet. Finally, to weigh-in both the pros and the cons, it is clear that the pros outweigh the con due to the immense amount of things we can do with it. 

     Looking to the ethicality of the said issue, we will see that both sides are right, in a way; thus, we need to look at which one is more right over the other. We can do this by weighing each other of their pros and cons, just like the one we did on the previous paragraph. We saw that the pros of using satellite imaging would outweigh the con. Tackling the issue about privacy, people would see things in black and white without any gray area in between the two; therefore, people would see the use of satellite imaging as a bad thing. Furthermore, if a person would choose himself over the benefit of everyone else, it seems a little bit selfish to do so. I am not saying that the amount of people who are against the use of satellite imaging is a minority. All I am saying is that if it is for the benefit of everyone, then why go against it? Then again, people on certain countries, like the citizens of United Kingdom, feel like they are being looked upon 24 hours a day, seven days in a week since their country is filled with surveillance cameras. People may say that it is too much, that it is an invasion of their privacy; however, these cameras, may it be a surveillance camera on the streets of London or a satellite imaging camera on space, is only taking photos on the outside view of their property, like what a person may see if he glances over your house or property; but it doesn’t go and peek inside your house and know what is going on inside. 

     To end my paper, I would like to reiterate the idea that if we have two rights, then we need to outweigh which one will give more over the other and that sometimes we need to sacrifice some of our rights, like our right to privacy, in order for us to have a better society. 

5 Things I’ve learned:

  1. With the technology used on space satellites, a picture taken by it could clearly clearly see manholes, cars, houses, etc…
  2. Satellite imaging can be used to maintain the environment, predict hazardous areas on the city, predict the routes of natural calamities, like flashfloods or landslides for example, etc…
  3. Some countries, like the United States of America, United Kingdom, Korea, Italy, Australia, and France, wouldn’t like to have the photos of their property taken due to privacy concerns that they have. 
  4. Certain countries, like the United Kingdom have 1.85 million cameras that monitor the movements of its citizens to easily identify the perpetrators of a crime if one is committed.
  5. People would usually rationalize things as black and white just like what we believe is what is private and what is public. 

5 Integrative Questions:

  1. Does it bother you that satellite imaging can potentially breach your privacy or does it not bother you thinking that it is for the betterment of society?
  2. In what was can the satellite imaging be used for the betterment of mankind other than the given examples coming from the article?
  3. What do you prioritize more in your life – choosing actions that will benefit you or choosing actions that will benefit the whole humankind?
  4. Rooting from the third question, are you willing to give-up some of your rights to privacy for the benefit of everyone else or are you going to stand-up for your rights and fight for the end of the use of satellite imaging in our cities?
  5. If given the chance to choose to choose between being an absolutist or relativist which one would you choose and why? 


There are 1110 words in this paper.





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