Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Why is Google Earth Hiding Dick Cheney's House?

Sharon Weinberger writes on Danger Room:

What the heck is so special about Dick Cheney's official residence that Google feels the need to obscure it? Oh, must the be that secret bunker allegedly built underneath it. But if that's indeed the case, why then is the vice president's home at the Naval Observatory crystal clear on Yahoo Maps?

WIn an article this month for Discover, I looked at how widely available commercial imagery has affected national security. While governments typically can't force companies to restrict imagery, it's certainly possible for them to coerce or persuade services like Google Earth from posting sensitive images. There have been a number of articles, for example, hinting that Google is trying to avoid stepping on the toes of China's government, which is concerned about sensitive images of its military installations available on Google Earth. But even in the United States, Google may be looking to avoid conflicts with the Pentagon. Google has a growing federal business, including contracts with the Defense Department, and antagonizing your customer is never a good idea.

More here.


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