Should Google earth be censored? This question has been going around for quite a few years and now after the terrorist attacks in Mumbai last month, a petition has been submitted in the country’s high court by legal advocates to blur sensitive areas such as Bhabha Atomic Research Centre in Google Earth.
According to the TIMES report, the petition says that Google Earth “aids terrorists in plotting attacks” and offers “absolutely no control to prevent misuse or limit access” of the services. Investigation to Mumbai terror attacks and interrogation of the only live terrorist reveal that the terrorists used GPS and other high tech tools to plot, execute and then monitor the attacks with ease.
This is not the first time when Google Earth has been asked to blur the satellite images of the sensitive areas. In 2005, Australian officials asked to remove the pictures of their only nuclear reactor Lucas Heights from Google Earth. In 2006, Bahrain officials barred Google Earth, and China too banned websites that sold unapproved images. Some countries like Holland have gone into an agreement to block or censor the sensitive areas especially their military bases. Some countries have even concealed their sensitive military bases by putting them underground. According to a USA Today report, some countries like India can detect when a satellite passes overhead and conduct sensitive military activities accordingly so that the satellites do not capture the images of these activities. Even in USA, google mappers and google street view photographers were banned from accessing Pentagon and other military bases.
Google earth has revolutionized the way the internet works today. However, one should also understand that gifts for some might be curses in disguise for the others. When it comes to sensitive issues like national security and the like, Google should co-operate with the respective authorities.