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16 March 2007 @ 02:07 pm
An Open Letter  
Dearest Government of the United States of America,

I am a student at the University of Georgia studying linguistics and various aspects of computer science. I am an honors student at this institution and thoroughly involved. (This bears little relevance to my suggestion, but at least gives you some idea of who I am.)

My inspiration--this (http://www.wired.com/wired/archive/15.03/start.html?pg=10) article from Wired. The article makes jest that internet users can take advantage of Google Earth to investigate critical areas of the world, particularly the border region of Pakistan to search for bin Laden.

My proposal--the government should commission regular efforts to satellite image regions where bin Laden or other threats may be in hiding. Increased scrutiny will make it difficult for enemies to remain in hiding, and unpredictable timing of photography would keep them guessing. More importantly, the government can take advantage of patriotic sentiments and the same online culture that inspires intense productivity on Wikipedia by encouraging citizens and volunteers in general to scour images based on particular search criteria. The government would provide basic lessons/information regarding photo interpretation on a website and, on the same site, provide the latest images for perusal. Registration restrictions would be possible--perhaps require that only US citizens can apply and require that they apply through some physical office such as the DMV so that visual confirmation of identity/citizenship could be used as well. Hence, confirmed US citizens, unlikely to use the images against our nation, could help directly in the fight against terrorism.

Collaborative efforts like this are the quintessential source of power online: the US government should take advantage of modern technologies.

Thank you for your time.

David M Howcroft
Ramsey Scholar & Concerned Citizen

Postscript: Such an exercise could also be billed as an effort to speed up troop reductions--if citizens at home can help the government with war efforts in Iraq or elsewhere, war objectors will want to contribute as well as supporters of the war out of their devotion to the cause. Obviously we would not want to provide images that reveal too much detail of our own troop locations, but citizens could help in searches of lower priority areas of crucial importance where a lack of manpower limits current efforts. This would be a fantastic political move, as well as a potentially effective military contribution.
soccer_rant_06soccer_rant_06 on March 16th, 2007 10:55 pm (UTC)
hah, that's a great idea... however, i hate to say this, and i may be completely wrong...

but they probably have thought of something like this...

just putting that out there.

Scary The Davescarythedave on March 17th, 2007 06:26 am (UTC)
I understand that, but I wanted to generate some talk about it, that's all.
soccer_rant_06soccer_rant_06 on March 17th, 2007 09:25 pm (UTC)