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India: Stop Looking At Me, Google!

Jason Lee Miller
Staff Writer
Published: 2005-10-18

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When you're president of a nation whose mountainous borders are dotted with gunners out to kill you, directions to your house are the last thing you want to send them. Even though Indian President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam spoke more on behalf of developing nations during his complaint to Google Earth, the 2001 terrorist attack on Parliament couldn't have been far from his mind.

Google launched Google Earth last June and the service has since caused a flurry of concern among national governments the world over about the detailed satellite imagery now at the fingertips of anyone interested. Aerial photographs of the White House and the US Capitol have been blocked out for security reasons, and other countries are asking for the same consideration.

Exhibit A is President Kalam, who at a meeting with police officials in Hyderabad expressed concern about Google's mapping and imagery service. Kalam complained that "developing countries, which are already in danger of terrorist attacks, have been singularly chosen to provide such high resolutions," as the AP reports.

Google Earth also provides images of Rashtrapati Bhavan, the president's home, and other government buildings in the Indian capital.

The Times of India quoted science and technology secretary V.S. Ramamoorthy, who agreed with the president. "What is a matter of great concern is the sufficient resolution provided by the satellite images on Google Earth posing a security threat to various installations," said Ramamoorthy.

India joins Thailand, South Korea, Australia, The Netherlands, and the US Army in criticizing Google Earth and the sensitive information it could provide enemies.

Google says they're willing to work out the kinks with India and others.

"Google takes governmental concerns about Google Earth and Google Maps very seriously. Google welcomes dialogue with governments, and we will be happy to talk to Indian authorities about any concerns they may have," Google spokeswoman Debbie Frost told Wired News.

While governmental agencies have complained about security issues, the general population seems to cheer Google on. Interesting images are found often, like the face of Jesus in a South American sand dune, and a swastika shaped building in San Diego.




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About the Author:
Jason L. Miller is a staff writer for WebProNews covering technology and business.

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