Google says Google maps not a tool for terror

Terrorist would have just used something else.

Published Fri, Jan 30 2009 4:25 PM CST   |   Updated Tue, Nov 3 2020 12:37 PM CST
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.

Read more here at the Sydney Morning Herald.

Google says Google maps not a tool for terror

He also expressed the view that the concerns raised about personal privacy on the new Street View feature on Google Maps was largely tied to the novelty of the products and a lack of understanding about the nature and frequency of the intrusion. Street View is a free online feature that gives users a continuous ground-level street panorama.

"We went through a cycle with satellite imagery where it was new and there was some level of concern and then some level of hyped-up concern, I would say, about what it means," he said.

"And as people came to understand about what satellite imagery did and about what it didn't [do], that level of concern went down and, as people began to appreciate the value it brought to them, that became effectively a non-issue.

"If you know that this satellite can come over maybe once a year and it takes a picture, that's different from believing there's an eye in the skye that can follow wherever you go all of the time."

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