Denis Lehane: Nothing is secret from eye in the sky

Denis Lehane is worried that a new super-satellite will monitor each farmer's every movement.

It is a well known fact that I’m half-blind. Even with my glasses on, I’m still not much better than Mr Magoo.

But that’s Ok. Because it’s not up in an air traffic control tower that I spend my days.

For the proper running of my affairs, 20-20 vision is not vital. I live in the wilds of west Cork, where I’ll do just fine, as long as I can see enough to tell the difference between a cow and a bull.

If I can see the patch of ground in front of me, what more sight do I need?

I feel that people are seeing way more than they should.

Last week, for example, on this paper came news of a new fangled satellite. A satellite now flying above our heads with more spying ability than I feel is necessary.

The Sentinel-2A satellite is now supplying nosey parkers in the European Space Agency with views of our farmland “way beyond what is visible to the naked eye”.

“It provides key information on the state of vegetation, even making it possible to see if specific crop areas are in good health and for example, have received enough water and fertiliser,” the report claimed.

While all this might sound fine on paper, the reality is anything but fine for the man on the ground. You see, it’s not robots that are doing all the work on the land, it’s human beings like you and me. And while this Sentinel-2A might well be focused on our fields, sure ’tis you and me that will be on show for the whole world to see.

And this too would be OK if we spent our days dancing around the fields like Julie Andrews in The Sound Of Music, but alas we don’t.

Without wanting to be crude, I’m sure you, just like myself, do not rush to the indoor loo every time you need to answer a call of nature.

With the greatest of all natural outdoor toilet facilities at our disposal, wouldn’t we be the daft devils entirely to be grabbing our britches and galloping to the homestead every time the pressure was on?

Why run home in a state of distress when you can tackle the unmentionable deed in a nice sheltered spot, with nothing more perhaps than the gentle humming of a honey bee, or the calming sound of water trickling in a nearby brook to keep you content.

Yerra, ’tis the most natural thing in the world. And something that most of us take great care to do in privacy. Usually far from the roadside and behind an abundance of foliage, so as not to cause distress or upset to any passing motorist or casual walker.

Anyhow, with the Sentinel-2A hovering above our heads with its all-seeing eyes, such days are over. The whole thing has been thrown up in the air.

No longer, I fear, will we be able to retire to such tranquil spots and be assured of privacy.

With such satellite activity spying from above, there will be no such safe havens.

Our outdoor actions could well be viewed by top scientists from around the globe. The whole messy business is surely a sad state of affairs to have reached, with regards to advancements in satellite technology.

It’s a problem that needs to be addressed. Somebody needs to get to the bottom of it. I feel strongly that it’s not right, that the European Space Agency should be aware of our every movement.


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