For those who worry about their privacy being harmed by transaction generated data, here’s more to worry about: sensors in the sky. These systems generate so much data that they do require big-data analysis.
Just as important, he shepherded research and development of new kinds of satellites that made digital pictures of objects on the ground as small as five inches across and then transmitted the images to earth for analysis almost instantly.
The aerial reconnaissance programs, most done in conjunction with the Air Force, were highly classified, and many remain so. In a 1967 speech that he asked not be quoted, President Lyndon B. Johnson hailed the Corona program as being worth 10 times the $35 billion to $40 billion the United States had by then spent on its entire space program. He said data from spy satellites had proved that the Soviet Union was weaker than suspected.
The first of a new generation of spy satellites was launched on Dec. 19, 1976. A month later, from high overhead, the satellite captured remarkably sharp, detailed pictures of the inauguration of Jimmy Carter as president. The photographs were presented to the new president soon afterward. Less than three years later, spy satellite images gave warning of the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan.