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Google Earth Street View Image of Fort Sam Houston before it was Removed  (Source: BBC News)
Pentagon bans Google from taking images and video of military installations

Services like Google Earth are viewed by many to be nothing more than an interesting curiosity.  However, for the U.S. military and other world governments the satellite images and other footage Google offers on its Earth service represents a big security risk.

BBC News reports that the Pentagon has banned Google from filming inside and making detailed studies of U.S. military bases. The ban comes after detailed footage from inside and outside of the U.S. military base at Fort Sam Houston in Texas turned on up Google Earth’s Street View service.

Street View is a service of Google Earth that allows users of the application to travel down streets from the perspective of a car driver. The problem the Pentagon had with these images was that they were shot with great detail and were found to represent a significant security risk.

The defense department said in a statement quoted by BBC News, “Images include 360-degree views of the covered area to include access control points, barriers, headquarters, facilities and community areas.” The fear is that terrorists could use the detailed images to develop plans to attack the base.

Larry Yu, a Google spokesman, told BBC News that the decision to enter the US military base had been a “mistake.” Yu further said, “[it is] not our policy to request access to military installations, but in this instance the operator of the vehicle with the camera on top - which is how we go about capturing imagery for Street-View - requested permission to access a military installation, was given access, and after learning of the incident we quickly removed the imagery".

The U.S. military isn’t the only military force that has had problems with images shown on Google Earth. DailyTech reported in July of 2007 that satellite imagery form Google Earth had shown a new Chinese ballistic missile sub in dock. Indian officials became irate when images of its new Sukhoi 30 MK1 aircraft turned up on Google Earth as well.

A U.S. spy agency stated in May of 2007 that curbs needed to be placed on satellite images made available to the public.

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RE: The way it should be
By Nik00117 on 3/8/2008 5:28:01 AM , Rating: 2
I don't think when they were banning it they were thinking of the higher profile poeple, those poeple have resources that other poeple simply do not have. If Bin Laden wants to attack a US base he will find out all he can and most likely near damn everything any how.

I think what the military is more concerned about is the small time poeple, poeple who don't have quite as much as much access.

Lets assume that there are a few individuals who hate the military and what they do so they decide to attack a base. Now first off they are amateurs. Their budget is limited, along with their connections. Such images could give them valuable intel to plan and coordinate a more effective strike. Letss ay the goog image displayed how the barriers are laid out, well they can plan for that, they see a gate and the poles are sharp at the top, they can plan for that. They see a gaurd post and notice a blind spot. They could find outt he height of the gates in order to overlap them. They could spend time going each piece of the picture anazyling even the smallest of smalls. They could notice that there is a door to the rear of a building etc.

All of this can be intel which they can use to attack us.

Without that, they wouldn't know the gaurd had a blind spot, the barriers would be more of a challenge, they couldn't tell what they needed to jump the fence. They wouldn't know what it was made out of, or the outsidelayout of the building. ALl things which could make an attack that much easier.

And again me being in a military community i've come to the understanding that regradless of freedom of information hippies say they are certain things about our gov which are better left covered up.

And me being in a military community I know quite a few intel guys (they are guys who basic job is pour over information, and write reports and so forth) and those guys have this thing called morals. Now how do you thing some of the past events that our gov has done have been leaked? By a guy in an office who saw somethign which he knew had to be uncovered so he uncovered it. Now let our gov have our sercets, granted lets contiue to challenge on them but we must also understand there are things which are to be said, and things which aren't to be said.

"If they're going to pirate somebody, we want it to be us rather than somebody else." -- Microsoft Business Group President Jeff Raikes

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