Google Earth Continues To Raise Security Concerns

    August 11, 2005
    WebProNews Staff

It was just a few days ago that Australia’s nuclear power chief was complaining to Google about the detailed images of a nuclear reactor near Sydney accessed by Google Earth. And now, as reported this morning on NBC’s Today Show, the US military forces in Iraq are even more concerned.

A concerned soldier stationed in Iraq demonstrated for the camera how easy it was to get detailed imagery of static military bases. With mouse in hand showing how an enemy could, with little effort, determine distances, latitude and longitude, where certain types of weaponry and military vehicles were located.

He asserted that an especially tech-savvy enemy could use the information to program coordinates into guided missiles and hit targets with pinpoint accuracy. Admittedly, like the two-year-old imagery of the Australian nuclear reactor, the aerial photos of the base were a year old. But the soldier said that didn’t matter as the base is unchanged since the satellite photo was taken.

And he’s right, it certainly wasn’t difficult to find Camp Anaconda. It will be interesting to see how security-sensitive photos are handled by Google and imagery suppliers.

Aerial photos of the White House and surrounding buildings are already censored, and one might imagine that sensitive military establishments will be soon as well.

Regarding the Australian nuclear plant, a Google spokeswoman said the images were to old reveal any sensitive information.

“The same information is available to anyone who flies over or drives by a piece of property,” she said.

But of course, Iraq is a war-zone with restricted air space. So this may be a different matter altogether.