In a peculiar play on the term “Do No Evil”, it looks as though documents seized in raids in Iraq last week showed terrorists are using print outs of Google Earth to plan their attacks on British troops. No, they’re not just images of buildings and parking lots of publicly accessible areas, but rather satellite imagery of tents, toileting areas, and where trucks and Land Rovers were parked.
The Times of India reports:
“This is evidence as far as we are concerned for planning terrorist attacks,” said an intelligence officer with the Royal Green Jackets battle group. “Who would otherwise have Google Earth imagery of one of our bases?” “We are concerned that they use them to plan attacks. We have never had proof that they have deliberately targeted any area of the camp using these images but presumably they are of great use to them.”
“We believe they use Google Earth to identify the most vulnerable areas such as tents.”
While this claim clearly needs to be analyzed by independent sources, it does provide ammunition for security pundits who have clamored that Google Earth does represent potential state and government threats. And it looks like countries in the Middle East are not the only ones with concerns.
According to the Map Room , a blog on maps, there are number of other countries that queried whether Google Earth was more of a hindrance than help. These countries include Australia, the Netherlends, South Korea, Thailand, the United Kingdom and of course, the United States.
Some have argued that what is found on Google Earth can easily be found elsewhere on the net. And that maybe the case. But I think there’s something to be said about the ease and facility about using a one-stop piece of software like Google Earth. And if this report out of Iraq has any merit, Google may start feeling the heat by not only the press, but other governments around the world.