The Land Remote Sensing Laws and Policies of National Governments: A Global Survey
Prepared by Prof. Joanne Irene Gabrynowicz
This article provides an overview of the development of and current trends in satellite remote sensing law and policy. Gabrynowicz states that all national data policies and laws contain the same fundamental principles: making data available for scientific, social, and economic benefit, and restricting access to some data for national security reasons. There are differences in the application of particular variables such as resolution limits, nations that are denied access, and other variables. There is a trend away from applying general principles for data sharing and towards analyzing the specifics of each request. The analysis often looks not just at what data is being requested, but who is requesting it and why. In general, national security interests are emphasized over commercial interests.
Formal law and policy is often difficult to find, though there seems to be a recognition of the need for more formal and transparent laws and policies. One common catalyst of this trend is disaster response, mitigation, and management.
The non-high resolution space-sement worldwide is mostly governmental, not private. These public entities often need to demonstrate social and economic value of the space systems. The difficulty of establishing system and data value is exacerbated by the tension between withholding data for national security purposes and making data available to increase its use (which would demonstrate economic and social value).
The article also includes, as an appendix, a nation-by-nation synopsis of relevant current and pending laws and policies, including national space and/or remote sensing law, relevant regulations, policies, and some other related laws, and data policy.