Indian concerns about Google Earth

Coolz0r is quite opinionated about requests by India, South Korea and a few other countries for Google to censor sensitive information on Google Maps and Google Earth. Coolz0r is blogging on the very popular blog Inside Google, while the original blog-owner Nathan is on vacation.

India and a few other countries are "alarmed at the ease with which Google Earth enables any user to quickly get a satellite photo of just about any area on the planet." Here's what Coolz0r has to say on Why Terrorists Love Google:

First of all, Google isn’t alone. There are other search engines that offer a similar service. Xxxxx, xxx xxxx [removed upon kind request] It’s not that you don’t have libraries with books that have this footage too… It’s not that you have anything to hide, or is it? If any terrorist got briefed sufficiently enough, he would be getting military information from some corrupt high-placed officer, just like they get arms from those same sources.

Agreed! A determined terrorist can indeed find the maps and satellite imagery he needs, from non-Google, non-search engine, non-freely-available-on-the-Internet sources. However, the question is not about whether or not a terrorist can get this information. The question is about the ease with which the terrorist can access this information and the speed with which he can use this information.

If a terrorist could kill 100 people if there were no satellite images on the Internet, but if Google Maps enables him to kill 101 people – just one extra person – then, we should give more serious thought to this issue. Not just think of it from the freedom of information perspective. If you are a friend, relative, parent, partner or child of that one extra person, how would you feel?

If it takes 90 days for a terrorist to gather all the data and plan a terrorist strike in the absence of satellite images on the Internet, but if Google Earth makes it possible for her/him to plan the strike in 30 days or even 60 days, then this issue needs more thought.

Obviously, this issue is quite not so black and white. While all of us hippies and freedom lovers would love for all information to be freely available, displayed and shared, the rest of the world is not quite so loving. There are people who are capable of using our love of freedom against us, to harm our interests.

Moreover, India, South Korea and other countries are not asking for general information about your residential neighborhoods, city streets and driving directions to be censored. They are asking for "sensitive" locations, such as, military installations to be protected. Incidentally, Google does censor information about the White House. I also remember reading somewhere that Google extends a similar courtesy to Israel's defence facilities. Why not the same for India and other countries?

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2 Responses to “Indian concerns about Google Earth”

  1. lenina Says:

    Hi,

    I’ve noticed that you haven’t posted on your blog in ages! Why have you stopped writing? Did you just get bored, or was it too much work? Is your blog dead for good, or are you going to continue to write? Please let me know 🙂 .

    Blog Liberation Front (http://lenina.wordpress.com/)

  2. Quincy Says:

    Hi All Experts,
    Does anyone use google earth images as ground image planes for use in aerial scenes. I know how to stitch them together but are there any tools or tricks to make sure that the images are at the same height, angle and such to make sure they stitch well. I know in the pro version you can get bigger images but im not going to pay for the pro version when i could stitch multiple images together…

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