These folks aren’t government employees, but private citizens. The article introduces this world of popular sousveillance, describing it as apolitical.
Mr. Locker, who favors a telescope for his camerawork, said that people like him and Mr. Molczan were not, as he put it, “nerdy buffs who lie on our backs and look into the sky and try to undermine governments.” Spotting, he said, is simply a hobby...
...“If Ted can track all these satellites,” Mr. Pike said, “so can the Chinese.”
I didn't know the Chinese had such hobbies?!?
Read more - 'Spying on spy satellites: satmobs'