Jacques Arnould

The Earth Under Surveillance

A theologian and science historian, Jacques Arnould is a project director at France’s National Centre for Space Studies (CNES), where he works on the ethical dimension of human activities in space. He is the author of numerous works including, most recently, Lève-toi et marche, written with Jacques Blamont.

With Sputnik and the satellites that succeeded it humanity entered the era of globalisation.

Since that time, our worldview has been radically transformed not only by modern means of communication but also by the new image of the Earth — now seen from orbiting satellites. The Internet has made the planet widely accessible, to the extent that military establishments, previously the sole possessors of spy-satellites, have become increasingly anxious and jealous.

Never before have Bentham’s panopticon or Orwell’s Big Brother seemed so threateningly close — a situation that has justifiably raised widespread fears and provoked criticism of the current technological developments that too often disregard freedom and democracy.

So what can we do? This is what this book aims to tell us, by examining:

• the history of space technology (particularly on the subject of spy or reconnaissance satellites) and the hopes and fears raised by space exploration.

• the real, warranted foundations of current questionings and fears about global and space observation and surveillance.

• specific actions that can be taken in the face of increasingly justified fears and what our vigilance should mean.