Terrorists Using Google Earth To PinPoint Attacks
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.
Tony Hung is the editor of the BlogHerald. He is also a physician finishing his last year of residency in General Internal Medicine, and blogs at Deep Jive Interests , where he rants, occasionally, on new media topics.
It’s the old question of ‘Does the fact I CAN do it mean I SHOULD do it?’
Truly, what is the point of Google Earth other than it looks pretty cool.
Really, would the world be worse off if Google Earth was to be taken offline? I don’t think so.
On the other hand, is there potential risk to the lives of soldiers (and civilians, for that matter) by keeping it running? If so, it’s not a particularly tough decision to shut it down.
People with power and influence, such as the owners of Google, need to make decisions based not on what shows off how clever they are but on whether or not what they are doing is harmful.
Terrorist, or some people like to call them Jehadis, or even freedom fighters, use the tools of the world they detest so much. While living the cave ages, they use all the modern tools to carry out terrorist attacks. Their communities, or their ideology, never create new things or improve the existing ones, but ask them to use them for destruction, and they’ll be more than ready.