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NY Politicians Argue Over Google Earth

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New York politicians appear to be at odds over just how dangerous Google Earth might be; Assemblyman Mike Gianaris is asking Google to blur out images of “sensitive” sites, while Mayor Michael Bloomberg feels such efforts may not be the best use of time.  

For those keeping track, Gianaris and Bloomberg are generally viewed as a Democrat and a Republican, respectively. 

In any event, the New York Post reports that “[t]he issue is particularly important, Gianaris said, after Google Earth was allegedly used by terrorists planning to attack JFK Airport.”

“It’s only a matter of time before someone uses the information Google Earth provides to do this country harm,” Gianaris continued. 

The comments were made outside Google’s Manhattan office, and Gianaris has reportedly sent several letters to the search engine company about this matter.

But, considering the length of time that Google Earth has been (widely) available, any fresh changes aren’t likely to have much of an effect.

Bloomberg went at the issue from a related angle in his discussion with the New York Sun, saying, “[G]iven the number of satellites that can read your license plate from the sky, I think at this point that’s not necessarily where a terrorist would go.”

The mayor did admit, however, that Gianaris’s worries are “a legitimate concern.”

Some quick-witted (and critical) readers at The Register have noted that cars and phones could also pose certain risks. 

Then Chris Sharp adds, “I burnt myself quite badly on a marshmallow once.”

As for Google, the search engine company is being as cooperative as ever; a spokeswoman told the Sun that Google “understands the government’s interest to set limits wherever appropriate.” 

While the controversial Street View service is one thing, Google may realize that Matters of National Security are quite another.

NY Politicians Argue Over Google Earth
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  • Bryan Schmidt

    This is insane! What will they think of next?! Anyone could have used any map service or satellite feeds to do the same thing. Does this mean that if a bank robber plans his spree using road maps, that the company who made the maps is to blame for the robberies? Does it mean that if a thief uses the phonebook to plan his next raid, the company who provided the phonebook is to blame? Google is an information provider, as many millions of companies in this world are. How people use this information is up to them, and they alone are responsible to answer to the consequences. Not the service that provided the information.