An upcoming election in Sudan is widely expected to be marked by violence, but thanks to the actions of Google, Harvard, the UN, and a group called Not On Our Watch, it's possible the situation won't get too bloody. In an effort to discourage hostilities, the organizations have banded together to support satellite surveillance of Sudan.
It's possible the surveillance will act as a deterrent. Any Sudanese politicians or military leaders who might otherwise try to suppress or wipe out the opposition are probably a little less likely to do so if they know their actions will become global public knowledge.
Or, in the event violence does break out, Reuters reported earlier today, "The Satellite Sentinel Project, which begins on Wednesday, is meant to provide an 'early warning system' for human rights and security violations before the January 9 referendum on whether to divide Sudan into north and south."
Google's contribution to the project is supposed to be an online platform through which the all of the information will be shared. Meanwhile, Harvard will help research events, while the original satellite photos will come courtesy of the UN's UNOSAT program.
Not On Our Watch, which counts Don Cheadle, George Clooney, Matt Damon, and Brad Pitt among its members, is helping with the cost of the whole undertaking.
According to Reuters, Clooney said in a statement, "We want to let potential perpetrators of genocide and other war crimes know that we're watching, the world is watching."