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India Forms Expert Group on Google Earth Images

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 8 years ago | from the put-it-in-a-shed dept.

Google 217

Digital Inspiration writes "According to Yahoo News, the Indian Government, 'concerned over satellite images of its strategic installations being made available in the public domain by internet search engine Google, has decided to constitute an expert group to suggest ways to safeguard the country's interests.' Earlier, The President of India expressed concerns that terrorists could use Google Earth to plan assaults on the Indian parliament, the President's house and government offices in New Delhi, all of which show up clearly in Google Earth's photos. Google Earth has expressed its readiness to have discussions with the Government regarding the issue."

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fferst P0ST (0, Troll)

rratss (893595) | more than 8 years ago | (#14336419)

Re:fferst P0ST (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14336427)

That was actually pretty funny, with the moving of the browser window and all. Well, until it redirected to Last Measure, of course.

mmm (3, Funny)

mallmall (110958) | more than 8 years ago | (#14336423)

we can finally find their hidden birdie num-nums

Re:mmm (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14336640)

Cock sucking job stealers. These fucking guys are like a pack of rabid squirrels just waiting to stab you in the back. Yes, thats Indians in a nut shell.

Worked with so many of the bastards I'm planning to leave the field to the cockroaches.

- Moomin

Re:mmm (1)

jaysones (138378) | more than 8 years ago | (#14336691)

Hahaha! I loved The Party, but don't have any mod points.

Area 51 (4, Insightful)

k00110 (932544) | more than 8 years ago | (#14336425)

Time for Indians to use Area 51 techniques, put things under the ground, problem fixed.

Re:Area 51 (1)

irtza (893217) | more than 8 years ago | (#14336468)

interesting thought... put the legislature underground... unfortunately, isn't this what the terrorist want to do to?

Re:Area 51 (4, Insightful)

balster neb (645686) | more than 8 years ago | (#14336674)

The building in questions aren't exactly the type that can be hidden underground. The buildings they want obscured include residences of the Prime Minister, the President, as well as various nuclear and military facilities. The concern is, among other things, that the satellite images will reveal the location and nature of the defences around these buildings.

Similar blocking is done for the White House and the Capitol building in the US (at least for Google Maps, I haven't checked Google Earth).

Re:Area 51 (1)

FatherG (933102) | more than 8 years ago | (#14336675)

Just ignore the fact Area 51 shows up on Google Earth.

Re:Area 51 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14336711)

Do you know whats at Area 51 and where they do it?

Thought not.

Re:Area 51 (1)

phoenix.bam! (642635) | more than 8 years ago | (#14336766)

There have been several comments I've read regarding Military installtions in the US made by military personel browsing slashdot. They claim that the images of bases are actually fake. One such base had a golf course where no existed and so on.

Security Through Obscurity (5, Funny)

affliction (242524) | more than 8 years ago | (#14336428)

When will they realize that just because it's blurred out in the picture, doesn't mean the building disappeared?

Re:Security Through Obscurity (4, Funny)

Decaff (42676) | more than 8 years ago | (#14336442)

When will they realize that just because it's blurred out in the picture, doesn't mean the building disappeared?

It just means someone was taking it away real fast.

Re:Security Through Obscurity (1)

penguin_asylum (822967) | more than 8 years ago | (#14336555)

Security through obscurity isn't always a bad thing.

If you have a server that you only want to be accessed by certain people, then not making the IP/port public _is_ security through obscurity, but would certainly prevent some froms of attack.
If someone does find it, it'll be easier to seperate that traffic from the legitimate traffic, presuming that they used e.g. a port-scanner.

Re:Security Through Obscurity (3, Insightful)

Guspaz (556486) | more than 8 years ago | (#14336635)

But these are public photos. Google just bought them, and so can anybody else. I don't understand why Google Earth is considered a security risk when the source of the images isn't. Do they think that terrorists don't use money in exchange for goods and services?

Re:Security Through Obscurity (4, Insightful)

node 3 (115640) | more than 8 years ago | (#14336802)

This is a flawed argument. It's, essentially, that if something isn't 100% secure, it's the same as being 100% insecure.

Google Earth makes it about a billion (well, some large amount) times easier to discover and access the data. It's also much harder to track down who is accessing the data (well, for India, I suppose it doesn't really apply, but if the satellite images are from an American company, at least in the US the government could subpoena who accessed them and maybe track down the fact that some known Bad Guy has been looking at some vulnerable Secret Place.

So the point being, the data is more readily available, which is not good for people who want to keep the data hidden. This sucks for those who want to keep the secrets, but I agree with the sentiment you are trying to defend, which is, "too bad for them".

Re:Security Through Obscurity (1)

DrMindWarp (663427) | more than 8 years ago | (#14336573)

The above is modded as funny but the point is entirely correct. Security through obscurity is no security at all.

Re:Security Through Obscurity (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14336699)

No, there's no "point" at all but mindless parroting of sound bites. The fact of the matter is, obscurity is a valuable layer of security. Is it secure as the only layer of security? No, of course not, but hardly any security mechanism is. What's more secure, multi-layered security of which no one outside the security admins know exactly what's employed? Or the very same multi-layer security with a list of vendors and products published for all to see? Hmm, knowing exactly what's employed gives anyone a head start looking for vulnerabilities, not to mention knowing exactly who to hit when an exploit in something you run is discovered. Not knowing, ie employing a layer of that evil "obscurity", means attackers won't know exactly what they're dealing with and will have to probe in exploration first, giving you extra time to detect them.

Thr REAL reason for this.. (1)

argoff (142580) | more than 8 years ago | (#14336604)

Bull, this has nothing to do with security, the real reason is that the leaders of India don't want the people of India to see how they live in huge mansions on drawn out estates while the vast majority of the country lives on under $1000 per year.

Google already censors for China... (1)

markdowling (448297) | more than 8 years ago | (#14336661)

so why shouldn't it do the same for India?

Re:Security Through Obscurity (1)

Jugalator (259273) | more than 8 years ago | (#14336759)

When will they realize that just because it's blurred out in the picture, doesn't mean the building disappeared?

Yes, and even worse for them, the original map didn't disappear. At least if they're going for "Google Earth images" and Google's service. They're just reusing already public material.

Who's forming the group? (4, Informative)

mattyohe (517995) | more than 8 years ago | (#14336429)

Submitter, don't put something in quotes if you have paraphrased it or changed it. You completely changed what that article says. Your subject says one thing and then the content says another.

Actual Quote from Article: "Concerned over satellite images of its strategic installations being made available in the public domain by internet search engine Google, India has decided to constitute an expert group to suggest ways to safeguard the country's interests."

Re:Who's forming the group? (1)

ravenspear (756059) | more than 8 years ago | (#14336462)

While he did misquote it, the meaning wasn't changed because he put 'the Indian government,' before that.

Too dumb for words. (2, Funny)

HillaryWBush (882804) | more than 8 years ago | (#14336434)

Call this office and tell them you will NOT be building your next call center in India if they keep trying to censor the Internet!

Office of the Development Commissioner
Kandla Special Economic Zone
Ministry of Commerce & Industry Government of India
Gandhidham-370 230
Gujarat
Phone: 02836- 52194, 52475, 52273
Fax: 02836- 52250

Re:Too dumb for words. (1)

Turn-X Alphonse (789240) | more than 8 years ago | (#14336447)

Sorry but this is legit.. you really could plan things using Google Earth. All they would need to do is blur it out. Don't hide it's there, but make it so you can't use the map to plot against it.

That way the maps still accurate, but it's the difference between "Take the second left, third right, fourth right and then knock on the door theme times" and "it's some where over there".

Re:Too dumb for words. (1)

Glonoinha (587375) | more than 8 years ago | (#14336523)

Bah. The terrorists don't have the brains or the balls to do this.
Those Al Qaeda pussies tremble in their pig-skin boots when they think about the Indian military and government powers!

I dare them to try a massive attack against the Indian government, infrastructure, and all those juicy tech centers.
I double dare them.
I triple dog dare them.

There. I did it. The fabled triple dog dare from the Christmas Story, right here for all the world to see. If those terrorists don't take that one, well ... well, well the world will know what they are made of (not much, if they don't,) Google pictures or no Google pictures.

I guess that settles that.
What's next on my agenda after 'making the world a safer place'?

Re:Too dumb for words. (3, Funny)

Geno Z Heinlein (659438) | more than 8 years ago | (#14336475)

Call this office and tell them you will NOT be building your next call center in India if they keep trying to censor the Internet!

I tried to call the Ministry to complain, but I ended up talking to some chick with a thick Brooklyn accent and neither one of us could understand what the other was saying.

Re:Too dumb for words. (5, Interesting)

WIAKywbfatw (307557) | more than 8 years ago | (#14336487)

Really? And how is what India wants anything different from what the US has already got?

Go to Google Maps. Try to look at the White House and the surrounding area. You'll see that a great deal of detail has been obscured, precisely because of the security concerns.

Just like the US, India has suffered at the hands of internationally-sponsored terrorism. Unlike the US, its actually had the misfortune of having its parliament and parliamentary officials attacked. And Indians have far more first-hand experience of being the brunt of terrorism than the US has had too. Google for the facts if you don't believe me.

India has legitimate security concerns here. Discussing how those concerns are best dealt with in a cooperative manner, as India has chosen to do, rather than confrontational one, as others have opted for in the past, is to be commended rather than condemned.

Re:Too dumb for words. (2, Insightful)

CosmeticLobotamy (155360) | more than 8 years ago | (#14336616)

Go to Google Maps. Try to look at the White House and the surrounding area. You'll see that a great deal of detail has been obscured, precisely because of the security concerns.

Damn. Now if I want to do evil there, I'll have to wait forty seconds for one of the Discovery channels to do a documentary that includes way closer-up pictures.

Re:Too dumb for words. (2, Insightful)

anand78 (832850) | more than 8 years ago | (#14336580)

Outsourcing brings the jobs that the people in USA don't want to do. You will realize that in the address above that it belong to one of the Economic zones. Besides why don't you allow access to Connecticut on google Maps. If the indian subcontinent is volatile why the fuck would you give another tool to the Terrorists.

Re:Too dumb for words. (1)

penguin-collective (932038) | more than 8 years ago | (#14336641)

why the fuck would you give another tool to the Terrorists.

Because it's not just "a tool to the Terrorists", it's also an important tool for research. For example, unrestricted Google Earth might well allow researchers to uncover government corruption and deception, both in the US and abroad.

In any case, all of this is just a temporary issue anyway; over the next decade, anybody will be able to get high resolution aerial photography of anything, whether the government allows it or not. So, the military better prepare for it.

Re:Too dumb for words. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14336704)

Plenty of people want to do the jobs. They just aren't willing to take the enormous pay cuts to match the savings companies can get by outsourcing to the 3rd world.

"This just in" (5, Funny)

i41Overlord (829913) | more than 8 years ago | (#14336435)

After hearing concerns voiced by every government on Earth, Google has agreed to only show satellite images of the oceans. This is to prevent terrorists from using sensitive data revealed by the images.

Shipping lanes, harbors... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14336480)

Shipping lanes and harbors could be looked at for highkacking and getting bombs in there. That's one of the big issues with people who are really in the know reegarding terrorist attacks: the harbors are the biggest whole.

Re:"This just in" (2, Funny)

iPaige (834088) | more than 8 years ago | (#14336543)

This just in - Atlantis brings forth further objections on this "Google Earth - Oceanic Edition"

In further news. (1)

gaieios (917405) | more than 8 years ago | (#14336659)

After discussions with Interpol, Google has decided to stop showing images of the oceans, as this provides terrorists and maritime pirates with critical information about shipping activity. Google Earth will now provide just a single image of the Earth, as is befitting its name.

Could Learn From Computer Security People (3, Insightful)

Comatose51 (687974) | more than 8 years ago | (#14336437)

While I understand the concerns of the Indian government, I question the viability of this in the long run. Security through obscurity [wikipedia.org] is at best a short term fix. If their sites can be attacked simply by knowing the above ground layout, one has to question the overall security of those installations. What's to stop a terrorist from simply getting the photos from another source? Perhaps through aerial photography? If Google agrees to help, I hope the Indian government will take the time to implement some genuine security that's not so vulnerable. Perhaps it's time for security people to experiment with the idea of peer-review?

Re:Could Learn From Computer Security People (2, Interesting)

Krommenaas (726204) | more than 8 years ago | (#14336507)

What's to stop a terrorist from simply getting the photos from another source? Perhaps through aerial photography?
Watching satellite pictures of sensitive areas through Google is slightly more anonymous than buying them from specialised companies. I'm sure well-organised terrorist organisations can get them anyway, but there are also plenty of amateurish wannabe terrorists, and online satellite images make things that much easier for them. Governments are right to be concerned.

bad analogy (2, Informative)

penguin-collective (932038) | more than 8 years ago | (#14336620)

The term "security through obscurity" is a technical term that refers specifically to keeping protocols and algorithms of a cryptographic system secret. Trying to extend that concept to mean "anything that is kept secret" is overextending its meaning. Even standard cryptographic systems rely on keeping things "obscure"--like the key, for example.

The question of whether satellite data of military installations needs to be kept secret is something that warrants a separate discussion. I think that eventually, there will be no way around making all defense and police installations secure against aerial photos, but for the time being, aerial and satellite photography may indeed may make them more vulnerable.

Re:Could Learn From Computer Security People (1)

gabbarbhai (719706) | more than 8 years ago | (#14336645)

1. A terrorist taking detailed pictures can be spotted more easily. In fact, most Indian government sites (even the international airports in India, in fact) prohibit photography. Same for remote planes etc. IIRC, radio controlled planes required some kind of permit when I was growing up in India. Maybe this has changed now.
2. There is already genuine fucking security in india. More so than you could imagine sitting here in the States. IMHO, the Indian police are some of the smartest when it comes to non-cyber/computer crime. Computer crime is a whole different story :-)

The issue is really that of resources. You don't want to keep a standing army of the top-notch commandos just because the terrorists can analyze the vulnerabilities using the satellite imagery.
As it is, some parts of New Delhi look like a war zone, and I'd hate to see army posts at each intersection asking me where I was going just because they are probable security vulnerabilities. Pretty much the same way I hate it when someone looks at my email logs or the pattern of shell commands or prevents me from accessing certain commands on the system because they may be vulnerabilities.
I can't believe I'm saying this, but under certain (very) limited circumstances it's also about enabling civil liberties (freedom of movement and not being watched all the time) by hiding certain soft-spots that I wouldn't see walking on the street.

You Could Learn From Computer Security People (2, Informative)

AHumbleOpinion (546848) | more than 8 years ago | (#14336646)

Security through obscurity is at best a short term fix.

Your statement suggests a superficial understanding of security. There is nothing wrong with obscurity. It is merely one of *many* tactics that should be employed *simultaneously*. Problems arise when someone relies predominately on only one tactic, whether the one tactic is obscurity or something else doesn't really matter.

Google should fix this (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14336438)

Google wouldn't put the same pics of US installations would it? So it should treat the Indians with the same amount of respect and consideration.

Don't give them ideas! (1)

FeriteCore (25122) | more than 8 years ago | (#14336466)

We don't want them to give us the same pics of U.S. instalations.

Can you imagine how iritating it would be to get a picture of some base in India when you requested a base in the US?

Re:Don't give them ideas! (3, Funny)

IAAP (937607) | more than 8 years ago | (#14336501)

It happens all the time! Why, just the other day I was Googling for clams. And what did I get? Listings of vaginas! Go figure!

That's nothing! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14336648)

I went googling for the part number for a new scope for my rifle and only managed to find anal love beads!

go figure.

Re:Don't give them ideas! (1)

Unknown_monkey (938642) | more than 8 years ago | (#14336663)

That's the funniest thing I have seen on slashdot in a long time. Too bad I have no mod points.

Re: Google should fix this (1)

consonant (896763) | more than 8 years ago | (#14336502)

While I agree (hey, I couldn't see the White House in Google Earth...just bunches of white blocky images), the fact remains that the Indian govt. in general is totally clueless about technology.

Case in point: The constant reference to "GoogleEarth".

Plus it has history of setting up committees and expert groups which (most of the time) end up as a political spring break..

Re: Google should fix this (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14336752)

While I agree (hey, I couldn't see the White House in Google Earth...just bunches of white blocky images)

I assume you're joking -- but if you're not, er, try turning off the 3-D buildings option.

All of Washington, including the Pentagon, WH, Cap Hill, &c., is high resolution, no blurring (in fact, they've removed some blurring of the top of the OEOB, which was probably intended to protect some post-9/11 anti-air emplacements). A quick glance shows that Quantico, Area 51, and Ft. Meade are all represented in fairly close-in resolution, without any blurring. Even Presidential retreat Camp David isn't blurred out (though it's part of a much lower-resolution parcel image, so you really can't see much of anything). I really don't see any effort exerted by Google to "protect" most US government installations by censoring them.

But no one else (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14336445)

seems to be too concerned about this. Why are they so worried when having parts of your national infrastructure publicly visible via satellite doesn't seem to worry the rest of the world?

I have an idea (4, Funny)

bitspotter (455598) | more than 8 years ago | (#14336452)

Just have them write an "X-No-Archive:" header on their lawn, specifiying the dimensions not to include.

Hey, it works for Google web search and Groups!

Re:I have an idea (2, Funny)

FeriteCore (25122) | more than 8 years ago | (#14336476)

Yellow circles in a particular pattern might just do it. At least you wouldn't be able to print the pictures.

Re:I have an idea (2, Funny)

Varun Soundararajan (744929) | more than 8 years ago | (#14336632)

a better idea is to place a file called map.txt in every building and tell which part should be allowed to be mapped and which part not to be mapped. All sites or part of the sites to be allowed (disallowed) should clearly be written with the heading "Allow:" ("Disallow:") . Also, we should make all satellites to respect map.txt :).

Hm... (4, Interesting)

Ruff_ilb (769396) | more than 8 years ago | (#14336457)

I don't see why just blurring out the images or putting giant black boxes over them won't work. If they really wanted to be devious, they could even switch the places around on the map (i.e. 180 degrees of rotation, then mirrored over X or Y axis), add 'fake' security measures to make the building look impenetrable, etc. Google is willing to do it, India is willing to do it, problem solved.

Re:Hm... (1)

Ziviyr (95582) | more than 8 years ago | (#14336482)

Okay, we're going to strike in 10 minutes. Alpha team, grab your tickets and set up a perimeter around space mountain. Beta, you neutralize Captain EO. Gamma, capture their mascot, watch out, they have decoys all over.

Re:Hm... (1)

IAAP (937607) | more than 8 years ago | (#14336493)

Or better yet, don't do anything. That way someone lookign at the picture will think its nothing. Then again, they may think that it's ruse to make it look like it's nothing, But then again, they may think that it's nothing important trying to look important to throw someone off into thinking it was important. Then agiain, they might...Oh, I'm gonna puke. I've had way too much eggnog!

Re:Hm... (4, Interesting)

The Cydonian (603441) | more than 8 years ago | (#14336535)

You know, it just occurred to me reading your post, but that's exactly what the Indian army did during the Pokhran II blasts! They studied sand dune patterns in the Thar desert and actually mimicked them during the 20 or so days they were testing nuclear weapons in 1998. Apparently, it was highly successful; unlike 1995, we caught American spy agencies completely unaware of what's going on.

In that context, it is indeed a historical irony that India has had to actively form a security group on this matter.

Re:Hm... (1)

metlin (258108) | more than 8 years ago | (#14336673)

But see, that was for a short while - in order for them to continue to blur out the installations 24/7/365, it would indeed take a lot of effort.

So, they figured that talking to Google is a better alternative.

Re:Hm... (1)

The Cydonian (603441) | more than 8 years ago | (#14336785)

Sure, of course; my views on this matter were basically that, while I don't really believe in security through obscurity, there's no reason why India shouldn't be allowed to obscure some imagery, just as the US has been able to. I wasn't really commenting on the story as such, just made a tangential point.

Re:Hm... (1)

metlin (258108) | more than 8 years ago | (#14336805)

Ahh, gotcha. Of course, I completely agree with you. Then again, if Google maps can see it, then am sure a spy orgainzation can quite easily, too. :)

Re:Hm... (1)

GigsVT (208848) | more than 8 years ago | (#14336772)

How successful could it be?

Granted I'm not familiar with the incident in question, but I was under the impression we generally detect nuclear testing by detecting seismic shocks and gamma ray/EMP burst emissions with satellites, not optical techniques!

Re:Hm... (1)

The Cydonian (603441) | more than 8 years ago | (#14336796)

That is after a test, not before. In 1995, the US saw heightened activity in and around Pokhran, and warned India to back off, mostly through a leaked Wa-Po report.

There's more on this in the book Weapons of Peace [sawf.org] if you're interested.

The recent threats (2, Interesting)

vivekg (795441) | more than 8 years ago | (#14336465)

The recent threat might be the one of causes [bbc.co.uk] and then some one send an an email threat to blow up Parliament [indianexpress.com] .

The only surprising thing... (4, Insightful)

Max Threshold (540114) | more than 8 years ago | (#14336470)

...is that other governments haven't expressed concern about this. A few months ago, I checked out the photos of my last duty station, NAS Atlanta. The resolution was good enough that you could make out rows of tiny green dots criscrossing the flight line -- Marines on their morning FOD walkdown.

Considering all the ridiculous things the Shrub administration has done in its so-called "war on terruh", you'd think they'd at least strategically blur satellite photos of our military installations. Lord knows, they'd like to blur that porn you were jerking off to last night. But we all know they would never ask an American business to stop distributing its products in the name of stopping terruh. Regulating capitalism is unamerican! It's just more evidence to me that they are not really interested in protecting our troops and citizens... unless it somehow profits them or increases their control.

Re:The only surprising thing... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14336486)

The Indian Government is pretty archaic when it comes to photography. You could end up in jail if you take pictures while at an Indian airport, especially of the planes, or the runway.

Re:The only surprising thing... (1)

Perseid (660451) | more than 8 years ago | (#14336516)

One thing to keep in mind is that most of the photos in Google Earth are a year or two old, so any activity bad guys might see on any given installation has most likely changed considerably from what they see.

Easy solution (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14336472)

Since Google Earth works only with Windows, just ban use of Windows. Problem solved!

I wonder what's next (3, Funny)

nnnneedles (216864) | more than 8 years ago | (#14336494)

Imagine, if the terrists had access to....a MAP!

Re:I wonder what's next (2, Insightful)

atanas (941327) | more than 8 years ago | (#14336811)

This whole thing is blown waaaay out of proportion, which plays great in Google's court. Nobody seems to want to understand that Google put online images that were already publicly available elsewhere. Get it? Google didn't take the photos. Google didn't declassify them. Google just repackaged them and reposted them. If only I could generate this much controversy by republishing others' information...

No real solution, (2, Interesting)

Perseid (660451) | more than 8 years ago | (#14336506)

These satellites have been up there for some time, and they're not government satellites, they're commercial satellites. This means that any terrorist with enough money could see an image of whatever they want to bomb, Google Earth or not.

I beleive it's time governments figure out a solution to the problem that doesn't involve the reversal of technology. Because it isn't going to get any better for them from here on in.

Misplaced attention (3, Insightful)

Bogtha (906264) | more than 8 years ago | (#14336509)

Anything that a satellite way up there in orbit can take a picture of, a remote-controlled plane with camera attached can take a photo of. Trying to stop terrorists having this information is insanity. India need to come up with security that assumes the terrorists already have this information.

Re:Misplaced attention (1)

CosmeticLobotamy (155360) | more than 8 years ago | (#14336605)

The Indian government is just looking out for its employees. It wants to make sure terrorists can't get information about the stuff they leave sitting around outside without slipping a guy that works on the loading dock twenty bucks. Those guys depend on that income, and Google's screwing them out of it.

stupid premise (3, Interesting)

Xavier CMU (829477) | more than 8 years ago | (#14336514)

google earth is just a program that aggregates a ton of information. All of this information is easily accessibly via other avenues [terraserver.com] . So just talking to google about this problem doesn't do anything at all really, if a terrorist is even slightly resourceful and can type "sattelite imagery" into google search, he can have instant access to the same pictures google earth provides. there really is no point to having these "talks".

Re:stupid premise (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14336778)

I supposeif he typed "satellite imagery" he would probably be more resourceful?

What does the future have in store? (1, Insightful)

digitalgimpus (468277) | more than 8 years ago | (#14336527)

In 20 years, airplanes will need to seal their windows to prevent security breaches. No more looking outside.

Sad really.

Windows are obsolete (1)

AHumbleOpinion (546848) | more than 8 years ago | (#14336678)

In 20 years, airplanes will need to seal their windows to prevent security breaches. No more looking outside. Sad really.

Windows are obsolete. People will be using their individual flat panel displays. They will select a view (camera) just like they select the music channel. Everybody gets a view, everybody can see the "sight" visible from only one side, etc. The cameras can be *temporarily* shutdown if security necessitates it.

France already got that treatment (2, Interesting)

boa13 (548222) | more than 8 years ago | (#14336529)

While I haven't verified this myself, and can't provide links to confirm this, a good friend of mine says that when Google first launched Google Maps with worldwide coverage, he looked at a nearby French military base and was surprised that everything was plainly visible -- buildings, airport lanes, maybe some vehicles. When he checked again a few months later, things were blanked out. It seems someone somewhere made the appropriate phone calls.

So, Google is willing to help governments hide sensitive locations, and I would be surprised India gets a different treatment -- it's just a matter of providing the appropriate info.

Hopefully, this won't get abused (blank countries, anyone?), but so far with the U.S.A. and at least France, such blanking has been done with the right balance.

Dear governments of Earth... (1)

pla (258480) | more than 8 years ago | (#14336542)

Have you ever belonged to a pet cat?

Did you ever take it to the vet?

Did you try to put it into a little box to get it to the vet?


Take the hint. If your precious secret hidey-holes and pillow-forts have such glaring vulnerabilities that a picture of them from above would help terrorists, you have MUCH bigger problems than keeping your cat from clawing the hell out of you in the car.

Less censorship of White House now (1)

Animats (122034) | more than 8 years ago | (#14336552)

For a while, Google Maps and most of the other aerial services had been induced to paint over images of the roof of the White House with a solid brown. [thousandrobots.com] But today, that seems to be back to normal.

And the really annoying blurring of the entire Capitol Building complex has been removed.

The White House blurring was particularly pointless. You can go up to the top of the Washington Monument and take good pictures of the White House roof, and hundreds of tourists do that every day.

It's good to see some of the sillier Homeland Security paranoia being rolled back.

Re:Less censorship of White House now (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14336713)

check out the vice president's residence [google.com]

Re:Less censorship of White House now (1)

Animats (122034) | more than 8 years ago | (#14336791)

Oh, Google is censoring pictures of the US Naval Observatory. That's so silly. Here's an official US Navy aerial photograph of the Naval Observatory. [navy.mil]

Some Navy people still think it was rude to kick out the Chief of Naval Operations, who used to live there, so the Vice President could move in.

Clouds (1)

Midnight Thunder (17205) | more than 8 years ago | (#14336561)

Just get Google to insert some cloud cover, since there already appear to be areas hidden by clouds. Since my home is covered by clouds in the Google photos, maybe it sugests that the is something to hide near ;)

Security through obscurity... (1, Redundant)

gellenburg (61212) | more than 8 years ago | (#14336571)

When will people learn.

Security through obscurity rarely works.

Obscurity works every day (1)

AHumbleOpinion (546848) | more than 8 years ago | (#14336697)

When will people learn. Security through obscurity rarely works.

"When will people learn?" is the correct question. However your statement then goes on to demonstrate a superficial understanding of security. There is nothing wrong with obscurity. It is merely one of *many* tactics that should be employed *simultaneously*. Problems arise when someone relies predominately on only one tactic, whether the one tactic is obscurity or something else doesn't really matter. Today, I hoped you learned that slashdot slogans may not offer a complete understanding of a topic.

Re:Obscurity works every day (1)

gellenburg (61212) | more than 8 years ago | (#14336730)

Thank you for your Humbe Opinion(TM).

However, you failed to recognize the rhetorical nature of my statement.

Note the intentional choice of puntuation. A period as opposed to a question-mark.

"When will people learn," was more akin to me dipping my head in frustration. "When _will_ people learn?"

I am well versed in the concept of security through obscurity, as obviously are you. The problem does not lie--but is precisely beacuse--Governments and Organizations predominantly want to rely on obscurity to provide their main means of protection.

Look at the White House photos on Google Maps as a prime example. As if painting the White House brown (which is apropos these days I suppose), and the EOP and Treasury buildings green.

As if that would stop any would-be terrorist.

Flying into Reagan National? Better not pop out your camera to take some stills 'lest some trigger-finger-happy Air Marshal decides to use your body for target practice.

Want to go to the top of the Washington Monument? Better not take any pictures of the Mall and of Penn. Ave.

The notion that by masking out the rooftops of "sensitive" buildings will protect the Country any better is irrational and unjustified.

Acts such as these are nothing more than a Government sticking its proverbial head in the sand.

The same holds true for India.

I stand by my original reply. Security through obscurity rarely works. All it takes is one person to discover the "obscured" information asset and publicize it, then the obscurity is broken.

what about archive.org (1)

anandpur (303114) | more than 8 years ago | (#14336575)

Israel? (4, Interesting)

Quixote (154172) | more than 8 years ago | (#14336602)

The only difference here is that India doesn't have a lobby as strong as Israel's. By US law, a satellite company cannot show high-res images of Israel.

Re:Israel? (2, Insightful)

Detritus (11846) | more than 8 years ago | (#14336803)

To be fair, how many countries get attacked on a daily basis with rockets? They also have to worry about news reports that inadvertently tell the bad guys how to adjust their fire. Britain had a similar problem during World War II with German rockets.

How long before... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14336606)

... someone hacks into the database containing the list of strategic installations of all the aggrieved nations in the world?

So... (4, Insightful)

Greyfox (87712) | more than 8 years ago | (#14336614)

Rather than being able to see the super-secret installation, they'll see a big black box there? Indicating to them that there's either a super-secret installation there or a giant penis statue? So rather than seeing more buildings and having to decide if they're interesting or not, they'll know that there IS in fact something interesting at that site? And the guys who'd really be interested (Pakistan) don't need to know what's there, they can just lob a nuke in and level the whole area.

Not that I could see Pakistan starting a nuclear exchange with India. If such an exchange were to occur and, say, 100 million were lost on both sides, India's remaining population would be .9 billion or so while Pakistan's would be in the negative numbers (IIRC, can't be bothered to look it up in the CIA world factbook.) And I'm stealing that quote more or less directly from an Indian government official who said the same thing.

Conflict of "Interest" (1)

layer3switch (783864) | more than 8 years ago | (#14336633)

http://www.space.com/missionlaunches/cartosat1_lau nch_050505.html [space.com]

"Cartosat-1 can capture details spanning 2.5 meters (8.20 feet) on the Earth and will be followed in 2006 by the launch of Cartosat-2 with a spatial resolution of about 1 meter (3.28 feet)."

India spent millions of dollar implementing remote sensing by launching a satellite to watch over natural disasters and environmental changes, obviously those Tsunami is so small, you need 1 meter spatial resolution to detect its occurance.

Who should be worrying about who's watching who here???

Probable message to terrorists? (1)

Kirsha (201264) | more than 8 years ago | (#14336639)

I can imagine what the terrorists are getting from this nonsense...

"Guys, if you want to get some juicy targets, just load Google Earth, and look for the censored parts! They dont want you to see those, so thats what you should blow up."

Umbrellas. Lots of them. (1)

davidc (91400) | more than 8 years ago | (#14336642)

...lined with tinfoil, of course.

Nothing better to do (1)

Stan Vassilev (939229) | more than 8 years ago | (#14336689)

Keyhole and other organisations had same/similar collections of photos for ages and noone thought that's a threat to security.

But of course, since Google bought Keyhole, and Google is popular, this means their "intelligence" noticed the existence of such data during their casual browsing around Google.

Just this fact makes me laugh about the way they overreact about the whole situation.

While we're about it... (1)

too_old_to_be_irate (941323) | more than 8 years ago | (#14336695)

...Tibet doesn't exist at all. Thanks for being open, GoogleEarth...

Other solutions the group might want to consider (2, Funny)

itail (940720) | more than 8 years ago | (#14336712)

And I was thinking [blogspot.com] , why should Google go out of its way to blur the Indian buildings ? You want your buildings blurred ? I say build them blurred in the first place... !
On the same note, here are other solutions the Indian experts might want to consider:

  • Cover your nuclear reactors with huge shades, paint them with clouds from below and trees from above.
  • Paint your airport buildings roofs with reflective paint (effective in daylight sweeps only !)
  • Create a "building cover" by sewing together thousands of car covers. Cover your governmental buildings before Google sweeps (need inside information here...), remove afterwards.
  • Place a huge magnifying glass over your atomic establishments (Risk involved).
  • Place a huge mirror over your submarine base, reflect the bastards.
  • Place a huge monitor over your Prime Minister's residences, facing the sky. Broadcast what a second satellite views just a few kilometers away.
  • Cover your police stations with small mountains.
  • Build your army bases over modular wheeled plates. Shift them around regularly.

On a more serious note (?) Google should definitely have a "blur API" you can use to request to blur your buildings. What about painting a huge crossed "G" over required rooftops ?

Compare that to NSA's doing. (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14336723)

Perhaps the Indian Government is looking at the fact that coupled with the layout and pictures of President House, the Parliament or other such places, one of the dozens of Paki/Kashmiri terror groups may actually go ahead and try their luck with a grenade or a rocket to gain notoriety and subsequent funding. That's how many of the current outfits (banned by US as well) have gained prominence, by killing more and striking important facilities.

Even if they understand well that censoring Google Earth would not stop those who want, access to such maps, there point is to not make it easy for wannabe terror outfits.

Had it not been camera-phones, we'd have less of boyfriend-shoots-naked-pics-of-GF-circulates-them MMS-scandals. The analogy is far fetched but can be used to understand the point of Indians.

Unlike US, India is not so insulated with it's porous borders and a scattered distrubtion of religious communities.

~mukul

Security through obscurity (1)

Wyatt Earp (1029) | more than 8 years ago | (#14336725)

After the invasion of Afghanistan the US and NATO forces would come across documents in regards to Al Qadea and the Taliban's attempts to create Chemical Weapon systems. In some of the memos were comments along the line of "...the Western Media has reported that nerve agents are easy to create and deliver so we should make them."

In a way, all of this talking about Google Earth is going to do more to get Google Earth known by the terrorist and military operators who could get an advantage from them. For all of the big military players out there (US, NATO, EU, Russian Federation, China, Japan, Israel, RoK) they have much better imagry than what Google Earth offers. The lower end terrorist groups and seperatists as going to hear about Google Earth not from thier IT people, if they have them, but from the Media.

If Google Earth was out there without the Media going - Look it shows all the ingress and egress routes for an Assassination of the President of India at his house! - the people that might use Google Earth for this likely wouldn't know it was out there.

Interesting discussion (1)

viksit (604616) | more than 8 years ago | (#14336728)

My 2 cents on the above.

Blacking out or greying out areas is definitely a bad response, considering that it draws more attention to what should probably be kept lying low. As for Security through obscurity - um - what're we talking about here? Is this some sort of algorithm whose mathematical innards are left open for peer review and testing, to prove that its unbreakable? If you were to do that for actual installations - wouldn't that be saying Hi there! This building is open for testing and peer reviews - please come in, try to blow it up, and prove to us that it is indeed secure.
Grow up!

Imo, the whole issue is being grossly overrated. So India forms a committee. Great. They have a bunch of pen pushers trying to think about how the problem should be sorted out - whats to say they won't be able to do it? As someone mentioned above, security in India might look warped, but its one of the most efficient in the world.. and if the same pen pushers can do such a good job doing what they do (albeit with their under-the-table-cuts-and-whatnot), let them do it!

And forget about Google Earth, Terramaps and whatnot - those are just the free services. Commercial satellites could well be leased by certain people who own construction companies making billions in Saudi Arabia - even though they prefer to live in caves. Has anyone thought of putting restrictions on the *Satellites* or the companies which run them?

Can ya believe it?! (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14336729)

So now, governments want privacy, yet they take privacy away from their citizens.

Something is very, very wrong with this paradigm.

Terrorists, quick (1)

melted (227442) | more than 8 years ago | (#14336777)

Terrorists, quick, copy all the secret places using Print Screen key. :0)
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