Intelligence: Coast Guard Spy Satellite


January 6, 2008: The U.S. Coast Guard is putting a ship-tracking satellite into orbit. The satellite will collect signals from the AIS (Automatic Identification System) transmitters that all large ships are required to carry in order to qualify for insurance. The data will be passed on to coast guard shore stations and ships, making it easier for these large ships to be tracked. Shipping companies already use this technology, and the coast guard can get the information from those firms. But by having their own satellite, access is quicker and more certain. The U.S. Navy already uses the AIS monitoring system. Naturally, smaller, uninsured ships do not carry AIS, and are more likely to be carrying illegal cargo.


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