Appeal to make online maps blurred

Published on: Wed, Mar 04, 2009
Tags: internet, technology and society, google earth, policy and law, Google Maps
Courtesy: – 3rd March 2009


This comes from a law maker of California. He wants Google Earth and similar services to blur images of the “soft targets” like schools, hospitals, churches and government buildings so that they remain protected from terrorists. Joel Anderson, a Republican from San Diego, is planning to introduce a bill, on finding that terrorists use online maps for planning attacks in the key points around the world.
The ban could face serious legal challenges as American courts generally protect the right to publish images taken in public places. An AP article points out that images that are available in Google Earth and similar services are also available else were.

Google and Microsoft as well as in a few cases third party imagery providers used by these companies, have agreed to blur images of certain locations, like White House.

The fact that the detailed satellite images and photographs available in Google Maps, Google Earth and Microsoft’s Virtual Earth, are helping in planning attacks, is not new. Reports have already confirmed that terrorists used imagery to carry out attacks in Iraq and Israel. Google Earth is facing a ban in India, following the reports that its imagery played a key role in the Mumbai terrorist attacks.

This has drawn criticism from experts since almost all technologies can cause harm if used wrongly.

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