Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Mumbai Terrorists Used Google Earth to Plot Attacks

Can governments get Google Earth to obscure images of sensitive locations?

"The 10 gunmen who terrorized Mumbai last week used Google Earth to plot their attacks, according to statements made by the sole captured terrorist. The attackers targeted public areas whose locations were already available on printed maps, but can a government ask Google to exclude images of more sensitive areas from Google Earth?

It can try."
Google has only acknowledged one instance of cooperation:
"British troops discovered that insurgents in Basra had been printing out detailed Google Earth images of U.K. military bases. In response, Google replaced its satellite shots of Basra with an earlier set of photos, taken before the war began."

But other locations do appear to have been altered:
"for example, the Naval Observatory in Washington, D.C., home of the vice president, where everything within the road encircling the Observatory is blurrier than everything surrounding it. Or Soesterberg Air Base and Huis Ten Bosch Palace in the Netherlands, which are represented by choppy pixels. Such instances occur because governments can, in certain cases, exert control over Google's third-party image providers."

In other words, not because Google agrees to cooperate.

But Google does agree to cooperate in other, different instances. Google has a dubious history of cooperating with many governments for a specific evil ends - namely aiding the Chi-Coms to hunt down Tibetan dissidents & facilitate censorship inside Tibet.

Plus, Google cooperated with the U.N. to erase reports of U.N. corruption from Google's search results. Many other instances of dis-information editing have occurred, and Google admits as much in the NY Times!

And, as owner of YouTube, Google aides and abets Islamic terrorists and their host nations by refusing to pull murderous propaganda videos which highlight these jihadis killing American soldiers.

So, the precedent is there for Googlag Google's cooperation with the world's various governments and their proxies for certain ends. As for altering sensitive images in Google Earth to thwart terrorists, it all depends on if Google really wants to 'Don't Be Evil' or prefers to facilitate that evil.

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