Spy Satellite Charter May Calm Privacy Fears

Chertoff expects plan to be finished this week
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted Dec 20, 2007 6:57 PM CST
House Homeland Security Chairman Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., said his committee had not been updated on the satellite program in months. (AP Photo/Dennis Cook)   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – A federal satellite-surveillance program will move one step closer to reality this week with the expected release of its new charter, the Wall Street Journal reports. Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff, who is spearheading the project, will also reveal plans for a $15 billion program to protect the country’s Internet infrastructure. Both programs have been under fire for their potential compromise of privacy.

The Journal reported in August on plans for the satellite program, which would allow the government freer rein to gather domestic imagery. Chertoff delayed it when lawmakers expressed privacy concerns. The charter aims to prove the program’s legality in order to build congressional support. Chertoff hopes its wording is clear: "If it is jargon-laden, then people look at it and say, 'What's the hidden agenda here?'"