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Satellite Photos and Their Possible Infringement upon Individual Privacy


DaveO
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A little new information pertinent to this thread.

"Looking To The Sky To Speed Up In-Flight WiFi" on travelskills.com

The following has nothing to do with the thread, but is relevant to satellite services.  Within the past 2 or 3 years I was at a meeting on web based geographic services and was chatting with two individuals that worked for a satellite company.  I believe it was Colorado based and had several orbiting satellites providing all kinds of services to buyers of any ilk.  The following example of a buyer of such services stunned me on several levels.

The satellite company was providing the buyer, a large financial services company (could have been a bank or investment company), with photographs of homes with outdoor swimming pools in the Northeast and Mid Atlantic.   Whether they were identifying the exact homes or the neighborhoods I don't recall.   Regardless some financial institution was honing in on either individuals or incomes with high income as represented by owning a pool.  (A built in pool...not some kiddy thing).

Modern life!!!!    And your privacy continues to get swallowed up by technology.  Will the satellite company resell those photos to other buyers?   Will the financial institution sell the data to others?

What will the purchasers surmise upon the information that you own a pool?   All of this takes me back to my youth (idiocy).  I grew up in this very middle class town which abutted five or six other towns, some of which were wealthy.  In our corner of the town, some friends (other idiots) and I would ride our bikes during the warm weather into the wealthy adjacent town, with the explicit goal of finding homes with pools.  Not easy to find.  Most of these backyard pools were completely hidden from the street with the house between the street and pool.  (clearly a challenge for the idiot bike riders).  But we did find some.

Next we'd hop a fence and go swimming (or trespassing depending on your interpretation).  One time a home owner charged out and grabbed one of the idiot brigade before we could all scatter.  Always "having our backs" another member of the idiot brigade pushed the old goat into the pool...and we all escaped.  After waiting out any potential negative impact from the local gendarmes over a several week period, we continued our efforts, but in a very different part of this wealthy community....still finding one or two pools.

I can imagine that a satellite scan does a far better job of identifying all the pools in the neighborhood than the idiot brigade.

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The following has nothing to do with the thread, but is relevant to satellite services.  Within the past 2 or 3 years I was at a meeting on web based geographic services and was chatting with two individuals that worked for a satellite company.  I believe it was Colorado based and had several orbiting satellites providing all kinds of services to buyers of any ilk.  The following example of a buyer of such services stunned me on several levels.

The satellite company was providing the buyer, a large financial services company (could have been a bank or investment company), with photographs of homes with outdoor swimming pools in the Northeast and Mid Atlantic.   Whether they were identifying the exact homes or the neighborhoods I don't recall.   Regardless some financial institution was honing in on either individuals or incomes with high income as represented by owning a pool.  (A built in pool...not some kiddy thing).

Modern life!!!!    And your privacy continues to get swallowed up by technology.  Will the satellite company resell those photos to other buyers?   Will the financial institution sell the data to others?

What will the purchasers surmise upon the information that you own a pool?   All of this takes me back to my youth (idiocy).  I grew up in this very middle class town which abutted five or six other towns, some of which were wealthy.  In our corner of the town, some friends (other idiots) and I would ride our bikes during the warm weather into the wealthy adjacent town, with the explicit goal of finding homes with pools.  Not easy to find.  Most of these backyard pools were completely hidden from the street with the house between the street and pool.  (clearly a challenge for the idiot bike riders).  But we did find some.

Next we'd hop a fence and go swimming (or trespassing depending on your interpretation).  One time a home owner charged out and grabbed one of the idiot brigade before we could all scatter.  Always "having our backs" another member of the idiot brigade pushed the old goat into the pool...and we all escaped.  After waiting out any potential negative impact from the local gendarmes over a several week period, we continued our efforts, but in a very different part of this wealthy community....still finding one or two pools.

I can imagine that a satellite scan does a far better job of identifying all the pools in the neighborhood than the idiot brigade.

I guess I was too goody two shoes as a kid, but I never pool hopped.  Then again, in the small town in which I grew up, I'm not sure anybody actually had a pool at home, even out there on "pill hill" where all the doctors lived.  In my case this would have been in the 1950's.

On the subject of satellite photos, how is this any different from just using google maps to do the same thing?  Everybody has access to satellite photos with sufficient resolution to do the job, or was it the list of such homes that they were really selling, thus relieving the buyer of the work of compiling the information?  That I could understand, but from the standpoint of privacy isn't it pretty much the same thing either way?  Anybody with a pool can easily be seen by anybody anywhere in the world.

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On the subject of satellite photos, how is this any different from just using google maps to do the same thing?  Everybody has access to satellite photos with sufficient resolution to do the job, or was it the list of such homes that they were really selling, thus relieving the buyer of the work of compiling the information?  That I could understand, but from the standpoint of privacy isn't it pretty much the same thing either way?  Anybody with a pool can easily be seen by anybody anywhere in the world.

I agree with your question.  Yes I suspect anyone can use existing tools to find data of one sort or another. (I actually did something of that ilk a couple of years ago--total invested time was probably around 200 hours. the result turned out to be worth it--at the time I wasn't aware of tools that would have sped up my process--but google deploys them for their own usage--a different story).  But the data is out there.  Anyone can use it.

I simply reacted "strongly" when I heard this story from these two gentlemen.  I had searched for pools in my youth.  Hard to discover.  Riding one's bike in a neighborhood with wealthy home owners and large houses...you just couldn't see all the pools from the street.  You could peer down the sides of each detached home toward the backyards, but if the house was wide to the street, it was hard to see into much or any of a backyard.  Once you got into backyards there were hedges and fences and you couldn't see into other backyards.  It was difficult to find pools.  (hey--we worked at it-- ;)  ).  But modern technology enables others of us to discover things about folks that we couldn't do years ago.   That is my reaction...albeit on an absurd item.

Possibly the institution that had ordered this data was looking for neighborhoods with many pools and individuals.  I didn't ask and I don't know.  Why is this information valuable and how will it be used?   I don't know and didn't ask.

But I believe you are correct.  If you access technology you can discover all kinds of things that weren't discoverable in the past.

Then again, in the small town in which I grew up, I'm not sure anybody actually had a pool at home, even out there on "pill hill" where all the doctors lived.  In my case this would have been in the 1950's.

I knew other places where there was an often described "pill hill" where the doctors lived.  I guess that was a popular descriptive term.  (my growing up period would have been the 50's and 60's) but in the East Coast.  I guess that "pill hill" term was used all over.

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