Surveillance Plan Moves Forward, Despite Concerns

Homeland Security program would allow local government to access spy photos
By Harry Kimball,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 1, 2008 10:42 AM CDT
A commercial satellite on its way to space.   (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – A Government Accountability Office review raises concerns about plans for domestic satellite surveillance, the Wall Street Journal reports, but Homeland Security will proceed anyway. A bill allows the agency to provide satellite imagery for emergency and scientific purposes, but could be expanded to include surveillance and border control. The department has no way to prevent abuse of the data.

Congressional Democrats have said the program needs to safeguard against such violations, and are hoping to freeze funding until the legal issues are worked out.  But an agency spokeswoman says that because the GAO didn't say the program violates any laws, the agency concluded it is perfectly legal.