source The New Scientist article source All About Nature article source BBC News article source Alamy article source Nature source AllAboutNature article source Reuters article source AP article source US President Donald Trump said on Friday he has ordered the US government to develop a way to produce high-definition digital images for use on social media and other media platforms, a move that will be closely watched by privacy advocates.
Mr Trump’s move to allow the use of digital images in social media comes after a string of high-profile leaks, including leaks of the names of US spy agencies and secret surveillance programmes.
“I have directed the Department of Defense to develop standards for high-res digital imagery, including video, for the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency,” Mr Trump said in a statement.
“The Department of Homeland Security and the Department’s Cybersecurity Agency will continue to develop digital imagery for national security and civil liberties.”
Mr Trump has previously said he wants to use “digital imagery” to “ensure that our government is up to the task of protecting our people and our homeland”.
The National Geodetic Information Agency (NGIA) was created by the Obama administration in 2006, but it has struggled to cope with the flood of data from social media sites, including Twitter and Facebook.NGIA has already created an image-processing program that allows users to create high-precision digital images of the earth, but Mr Trump’s announcement is the first step towards creating a standard for images produced by the agency.
Mr NGI also has developed a digital imaging technology called Image Processing Suite that can process digital images, but the Trump administration said it will not use that software in the future.”NGIA will no longer use Image Processing suite for digital images,” a White House statement said.
“This will ensure that the NGI remains focused on the work it already does.”NGIA is responsible for managing digital data and image processing and is the leading US digital imaging agency.
The department’s website says it “creates and manages digital images to enable government agencies to provide citizens with a high-end digital representation of their own country and world.”
The new policy is part of the US Government Digital Service (GDS), a new initiative by the White House to make digital images a central part of US government.
The GDS is also looking to create a digital infrastructure for the federal government.GDS, created by former President Barack Obama in 2010, aims to make government digital images accessible to the public and make them a “central part of government” in the digital age.
The agency has already established a new national image-management system called the US National Security Image Archive (USNSIA), which it said will “develop and publish a digital collection of national security imagery from across the government”.”GDS and NSIA will provide a central place for public agencies to share imagery and data,” the GDS said.GNSI, which is owned by the US Office of Management and Budget (OMB), is also working on a similar initiative to create an archive of images of military installations, which it hopes will be made available to the government.
It has not yet announced which agencies will be using its service, but a GNSI spokesperson said that “the USNSIA will be a hub for digital imagery and imagery from all US agencies and departments”.
The GNSII is a project of the National Imagery and Mapping Agency (NIMA), a branch of the NSA.
It was created in 2009, and has been described by critics as a surveillance tool that collects and stores images of private citizens without warrants.
It is unclear how the Trump transition team will respond to this announcement.
However, many privacy advocates are concerned about the use and misuse of digital imagery by the government and are wary of how this could affect their rights.
“Digital images are crucial to the US’ national security, and they are essential to our democracy, but they also create privacy concerns,” Daniel J. Sirota, executive director of the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), told the Associated Press news agency.
“They are often used to track dissidents and to create lists of targets that can be used against them.”
That means that they are potentially a tool for mass surveillance, and that has been shown to happen.
“If the Trump team wants to continue using this imagery, they will have to do so in a way that respects the privacy rights of all Americans, including those who do not share their private data.”