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22 Nov 2010

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Monday Morning News Kick Off: Air Force Launches Massive Spy Satellite While Worrying About Geolocation Services and Much More…

Added by Category: Daily Intelligence Brief, General


Welcome to the Monday Morning News Kick Off post from got geoint? Well, it is officially the Monday before the Thanksgiving holiday. While many of us are gearing up for Turkey Day, or making plans for extensive holiday travel, or even warming up those credit cards for Black Friday, the news cycle is still humming along. Today, we have a wide range of stories — from news about this big Air Force spy satellite launch to news of Disney using geolocation services at its theme parks and much, much more. So, as we always say, fire up that second cup of coffee and read on! Happy Monday!

Air Force Launches Massive, Secret Spy Satellite
A powerful Delta 4 rocket roared to life and climbed away from the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station Sunday evening on a high-priority mission to boost a National Reconnaissance Office spy satellite into orbit. Under a cloudy sky, the hydrogen-fueled engines in the three common core boosters of the United Launch Alliance Delta 4 ignited with a rush of orange fire at 5:58 p.m. EST and quickly throttled up to nearly 2 million pounds of thrust. Hold-down clamps then released and the huge rocket majestically climbed away from launch complex 37 atop a torrent of fiery exhaust. About 30 seconds later, it knifed into a deck of low clouds and disappeared from view. Read the full CBS News story here.

Intelligence Bodies Faulted on Disclosure
The House Intelligence Committee said Thursday that it had found 16 cases since the 1990s in which the intelligence agencies failed to provide Congress with “complete, timely and accurate information” about their activities, as the law requires. The latest on President Obama, the new Congress and other news from Washington and around the nation. Join the discussion. The report found that Congress was not properly informed about a Central Intelligence Agency program that explored dispatching teams to kill terrorists overseas; the destruction of videotapes of interrogations at the C.I.A.’s secret prisons; the agency’s involvement in the shooting down of a missionary flight in Peru; the National Security Agency’s compliance with laws and rules governing its eavesdropping; and the F.B.I.’s surveillance of a Russian spy ring that was exposed last summer. The committee did not disclose the other cases in which the classified report. Read the full NY Times article here.

Air Force Worried Geolocation Services Help Enemy
In a very 21st-century spin on the old World War II adage “loose lips might sink ships,” an Associated Press report Wednesday claims that the U.S. Air Force is concerned about troops’ use of geolocation services like Foursquare and Facebook Places and the possibility that it could reveal the location of U.S. forces in war zones. Military authorities in the U.S. and other countries have already made warnings about social networking in general, claiming that it’s all too easy for sensitive information to be exposed inadvertently. The Department of Defense had been considering banning the use of social media entirely (the Marines actually did impose a ban) but retreated from this strategy when the agency assessed that social media can provide valuable information-gathering and communication tools. In most cases, however, they’re required to obtain consent from authorities before using the likes of Facebook or Twitter for personal rather than official reasons, with the same security reasons taken into account. Check out the full CNET article here.

GEOINT 2010 Breaks Attendance Records in New Orleans The United States Geospatial Intelligence Foundation (USGIF) wrapped up the GEOINT 2010 Symposium in New Orleans, which took place on Nov. 1-4, with a record number of attendees, exhibitors and speakers who participated in the event. Even after the change in venue from Nashville, Tenn., to the New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center, this year’s conference broke attendance records. More than 4,000 participants had an exclusive opportunity to explore an exhibit hall of over 100,000 square feet featuring 220 exhibitor and sponsor organizations. In addition to this, almost 200 representatives from 30 different countries were in attendance. Read the full press release here.

John Wesley Powell’s Watershed States Map
We’ve covered the Western water crisis quite a bit, from the demise of Lake Mead to this startling infographic about the inter-state battles for the Colorado River’s vital waters. This tension between Western states was anticipated by John Wesley Powell, the great frontier explorer and head surveyor of the West for the federal government back in the 1880s. (You might remember him from history class as the one-armed maniac who lead the first European American expedition down the then-ferocious Colorado River through the Grand Canyon.) Read the full GOOD post here.

Disney Makes a Big Bet on Geolocation with Gowalla
Disney has decided to partner with location service Gowalla — rather than Facebook or Foursquare — for an immersive location-based campaign to help people explore its flagship Disneyworld and Disneyland parks. The Gowalla (Gowalla)/Disney partnership focuses around custom Passport pages that not only show off Disney-branded stamps (Gowalla’s version of Badges), but also a photo and check-in stream. Gowalla’s Disney page also offers Disney-branded pins that users can earn by completing specific trips within Disneyworld and Disneyland. Read the full Mashable post here.

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