Google Earth and Street View are two very controversial tools. Lately Google has come under fire for both. Very recently Google Earth has been used by Hamas to plan rocket attacks into Israel while the terrorists that planned the Mumbai attack used both Google Earth and Street View to plan.
*Correction Google's Version of Street view is not available in Mumbai or Israel*
Google Earth Boss, John Hanke has gone on record to defend both tools.
In an recent interview he claims that if the attackers didn't have Google Earth and Street View they would just use something else.
The problem is that his examples are not comparable to the data you can get from Google Earth or Street View. Using those two internet tools you can plan anything from afar without the risk of exposure and detection.
He says that Terrorist would simply have an informant on the ground "who was working in the hotel and drawing layouts of everything on a napkin"
Or use a tourists map. Here is the rub, the informant in the hotel runs the risk of detection and being caught, it gives the security forces a chance to prevent the attack. Using a tourist's map does not show military installation details; in fact most do not show much detail at all.
To Google I say this, own up to the fact that these tools are not good for anything other than providing criminals an anonymous means to reconnaissance. And either dump them (as they should do with the privacy invading Street View altogether) or blur out detail on sensitive areas to reduce their effectiveness as tools of terror.