Pentagon Asks Google To Remove Images Of Military Base

Street View driver violated Google policy

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The Pentagon asked Google yesterday to remove some photos it had taken of a military base for its Street View service, which appears on Google Maps.

Pentagon Asks Google To Remove Images Of Military Base
 Google Street View

The driver of a Street View car was given access to the Fort Sam Houston base after telling a base official that Google would not photograph or videotape on the premises.  The official thought an online map would be helpful to visitors.

When the photos appeared on Google Maps, the Pentagon contacted Google and asked that they be removed. Google took down the images within 24 hours. Gary Ross, spokesman for the U.S. Northern Command, said the photos posted on the Web could be a security threat.

"We don’t have any issues regarding Google and their products, which are very useful tools," Ross told the L.A. Times. "But the Street View provides clear imagery of control points, barriers, headquarters and security facilities that pose a risk to our force-protection efforts."

Google spokesman Larry Yu said the Street View driver violated Google’s strict policy of not going onto military bases and private property. "Against our policy, we did mistakenly access the base," Yu said.

Pentagon Asks Google To Remove Images Of Military Base
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  • http://www.clintlenard.com Clint Lenard

    What’s the difference between a visitor SEEING the Base and a searcher seeing a picture of the base? It sounds a little odd…

    I can understand not letting people sit around and take pictures – but I’m sure that many people have done so, with all of the technology we have these days.

    I wonder what “within 24 hours” means? The Pentagon asks Google to take the pictures down and they took their time, or what?

    • Colleen


      Have you ever tried to gain access to a military base?  It’s not like you can drive up to the gates and say "Oh I’m just here to look around."  You will be told to hit your feet.  To be a visitor, you need to have a legitimate reason to be a visitor.  The average Joe can not just say, Oh I was wondering what’s behind those gates and what all the security is for.  Honesty, do you really not get it??  And if it’s Google you don’t get….Did you expect them to respond, Oh my god, we’ll get those down immediately.  I personally would like to see the person who violated "Google’s policy," gained access to the base, and then lied about what he was doing get punished.  


      • http://www.IntimateAsian.com http://www.IntimateAsian.com

        You never heard of or never  been on an "open base"?

    • http://msgrantrave.proboards18.com Markus10527

      You gotta re-read the second paragraph of the article.  It DID state that the person "representing" Google was asked NOT to photograph or videotape the premises.  That person violated the condition that allowed him on the base.  The military had every right to ask that the images be taken down.  They never gave clearance for Google to put those images up.

      I myself have never heard of an "open base" where just about anyone can walk onto the base.  Is Fort Sam Houston one of those bases?  In this post 9/11 world, security everywhere is beefed up.  You can’t even go through Grand Central Station or Penn Station in New York without seeing at least one roving patrol of an armed soldier.  Heck, even West Point Military Academy (near where I live) has a full vehicle inspection and ID check by military personnel (in full battle gear) – and that’s just to go to the restaurant at their hotel!

      Think about it:  If the average citizen can see the ground-level layout of a military base, so could members of a terrorist cell looking to wreck havock.  The military has no way of controlling who can see what over the Internet.  They CAN do that with a security check of people walking onto the base.

  • http://www.dtaverne.blogspot.com Daniel Taverne

    In order to gain acces to military installations you have to pass through a guarded checkpoint, i many cases those check points are located at the installation’s main entrance.


    I was stationed at Ft. Sam Houson, Fort Gordon, Ft. Mclelan,  Fort Hood,and Fort Irwin and let me tell you most of them had other entrances that did not have a check point.


    Also, you can’t tel me that family members, fiends and the service members themselves don’t ever take accessable pictures of the installatins.


    All this said, I agree with the Pentagram, I mean Pentagn asking the pics to be removed.  Having the pics so readily availabe isn’t a good idea these days.

  • LeNaye Taylor

    I live on a military post.  To get on is a joke.  Yeah, you do have to state your business, but it seems all you need to tell them that you are having lunch with a friend at the local PX.  If you say you are going to a friend’s house, they wanna know the address.  You have to provide them with a valid ID, your proof of insurance and registration for your vehicle.  The posts are always having events going on that are open to the public, they just have to get a pass to get on post.  Now since 9/11 had taken place, they have tightened down on rules and regs of getting on.  Depending on the threat level will depend on just who all has to show ID when they try to go thru the gates.  However the driver always has to show their id.  You are also subject to random inspections.  You are required to show the same info to the guard doing the inspection as you do to get a pass.  As far as people not understanding why the government wouldn’t want the base video taped or pictures taken, think about it.  Our military bases store ammunitions, weaponry, tanks, and other specialized equiipment depending on the base.  They are not in hidden locations, they are accessible by the soldiers needing to sign items out.  With video tape and pictures that might show where this stuff is, then one would be able to go directly to that area and do whatever they would try to do to get what they want.  Or if there were to be an air raid, they would know where to drop items to taken buildings out that would have aided in the fight back.  All in all, due to sensitive items stored on base, it’s not a good idea to be able to access directions around this post.  As far as needing to know where to go, the guards can give you a little map that points out areas of interest for people who don’t know there way around the base, ie, px, hospital, commissary, items of the such.  Otherwise, with the exception of those of us that live or are stationed here, and the other exceptions that need to know how to get around, why would you need to know how get around one of them anyway.  I know this is almost 7 months late, I just happened upon it while doing a search.  Oh I will add this as well, most gps systems don’t have the all the information need to drive around on base.  My addy that I am at, the house has been there about 15 years.  My GPS tells me I have turned into an alley, (my gps is only a year old).  So it isn’t just as far as photos go, it’s everything….

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