Google’s stance on politics tends to be very narrow, and mostly related only to issues with direct impact on the net, search, and other company properties. However, Google’s most recent partnership expands this political reach somewhat. By partnering with George Clooney’s “Sentinel” project, Google hopes to prevent civil war and war crimes in Sudan.
According to a report from WTOP, Google has grouped with a U.N. agency, several anti-genocide organizations, and George Clooney’s “Not On Our Watch” fund to launch a satellite surveillance program on Sudan’s north-south border.
The border of Sudan is a hotbed for conflict right now, and previous conflicts in the area have created a death toll of about two million. With an explosion of tension expected after January 9th, when Southern Sudan will be voting on whether or not to secede, various groups are trying to stop the worst from happening. Regardless of how the vote goes, it’s likely that some form of conflict will erupt. By keeping a close eye on the area through satellite imaging, the Sentinel organization hopes to prevent conflict from escalating — and by releasing a warning of the program now, they hope to prevent any violence from happening.
Even if there is violence, it’s hoped that war crimes will be avoided because people will know they’re being watched. “We want to let potential perpetrators of genocide and other war crimes know that we’re watching, the world is watching,” said Clooney, who hopes to use this media spotlight to prevent these atrocities entirely.
The exact details of how the imaging will be created hasn’t been laid out, but it is known to be through satellite imaging that intends to capture the movements of troops and civilians near the border. Once imaged, details will be released both by a U.N. organization and Google.