Online Mapping Services And Censorship

I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately, wondering if other satellite mapping services blur locations like Google does — especially when Google extends an altruistic map when it’s deemed a worthy cause. But today’s article at SFGate intrigues, snip:

Aerial images of a nuclear power plant in Perry, Ohio, are considered so sensitive that they are blurred on Google’s popular satellite mapping service, Google Earth.
But on Microsoft’s online maps, users get a crystal-clear bird’s-eye view of the facility, including the cooling towers, storage tanks and a parking lot filled with cars.
Government efforts to thwart terrorists by asking — or in some cases requiring — that companies censor aerial images of potential targets have failed to keep them off the Internet. Scores of federal buildings, military installations and corporate headquarters are clearly visible on some Web sites, even though the facilities are deemed vulnerable enough to censor on others.
Censored sites include Vice President Dick Cheney’s residence at the U.S. Naval Observatory in Washington, the U.S. Capitol, the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, an oil tank farm in Baintree, Mass., and various military bases, offices and palaces in Europe. Even some less-strategic locations are partially censored, including the Playland Amusement Park in Rye, N.Y., a sewage treatment plant in Yonkers, N.Y., and PepsiCo’s headquarters in Purchase, N.Y.
Surprisingly, some of California’s most sensitive locations, including the Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant or Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in the Bay Area, are not blacked out or blurred on any of the mapping sites.


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One comment on “Online Mapping Services And Censorship
  1. Looking like you’re doing something useful is better than doing something useful, when the only reason you’re doing anything is to keep people fearful enough to keep voting for you.

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