GIS Google Earth Thoughts

Wired worried about web map privacy

Wired adds to the debate over the threat to civil liberties from web mapping sites like google and microsoft local. As seems to have been the case with much of the recent reporting, the issue is not so much with mapping, but the use of detailed imagery. One of the concerns expressed is the apparent danger of identifing “..vulnerable citizens such as women in domestic violence shelters” from the photography !

Similar concerns have appeared in the UK press in the past couple of weeks, although here in typical British fashion the concern is more to do with the government “spying” on building home extensions.

It is all rubbish !! Somebody has been watching too many Tom Clancy movies.

All these reports share a common lack on understanding of the simple facts of remote sensing, as yet nobody is offering >5cm resolution aerial (no its not sateliite) imagery you would need to recognise people, and more often than not the imagery is historic.. for example the imagery in Google Earth for my home is at least three years old !!

The debate in the UK seems to be politically motivated.. so there is little hope for more accurate reporting I fear..

Anybody seen a black helicopter in Southampton yet?

Written and submitted from home, using my home 802.11 network.

4 replies on “Wired worried about web map privacy”

I see the Googlephobes are rearin’ their ugly heads in the UK. I just wonder what these people griped about before the Google Maps and Virtual Earths?

Where were the complaints about telephone books before March 2005? (Ref the launch of GE.)

You’re totally right!
A city map in combination with a phone book means more threat to national security in that sense than GE & co ever will do.

I think it’s just the fear that all of sudden somebody, who doesn’t depend on politics like Google, has the power to provide and easily give access to data and information for everbody that was traditionally created and controlled by national (mapping) agencies. At least this kind of information was restricted to a limited number of citizens who had the infrastructure and budget to process this data.

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