We’re Watching You…


Wired’s Noah Shachtman informs of a UN agency — one that, I admit, I did not even know existed — using technology to keep track of the pirates in the Gulf of Aden.

The U.N. is staring down on the Somali pirates from space. UNOSAT, the international body’s satellite analysis wing, has produced a pair of reports, giving fresh views of the ships hijacked off the coast of east Africa, detailing their captors’ activities — and even snooping on the pirates’ home base.

Using images taken from the Quickbird commercial imaging satellite, the group is plotting out exactly where ships are being captured, and where they’re being held.

I think that counts as a “new strategy.” One of the problems hampering a more effective response to the lawlessness and piracy maritime terrorism off Somalia’s waters is, well, that there’s a whole lot of water to patrol. But pirates can’t really hide from someone watching from space. And given how difficult it is to mount any sort of intervention once pirates seize their target, knowing where they are is no small piece of the puzzle.

And if spying from satellites doesn’t work, there are always giant blimps aerostats.

(satellite image charting three recently hijacaked ships off the coast of Somalia, taken by UNOSTAT)