View Full Version : Google Earth Censorship

08-08-2005, 06:09 AM
Should Google Earth be censored? Here in Australia today, there are reports that the image of our one and only nuclear reactor should be censored, similar to what Google has done to the White House, Washington DC, as it apparently posses a terrorist threat.

I can understand that an US company would have to comply with US national security requirements, however, where does it end? Who will decide what is edited?

Should the hi-res pictures of Baghdad be removed so that the local insurgents don't have access to them? I believe this is one of Google Earth's greatest pieces of information, relevant today, is to reveal Baghdad as a sprawling city, and not a "Camel Trading Outpost" as it is often portrayed.

I really don’t where balance lies in regards to Public Information vs National Security.

Will all countries be treated equally?
Will the photos be clearly censored or subtly edited? (or worse, deliberately misleading)

Does anyone know if Google have a policy, and what their current stance is, regarding National Interest of other countries?

I don’t what this thread to become a flame war or some “conspiracy theory” sect, but rather an opportunity for understand the complexity of the subject.

Many thanks


08-08-2005, 07:12 AM
I completely agree with you, censorship is becoming rediculous..
Folks, Get it while you can.. Australias one & only Nuclear Reactor

HIFAR (High Flux Australian Reactor) Nuclear Reactor, New Illawarra Road, Lucas Heights, NSW


08-08-2005, 11:23 AM
Just a few points before making a moral judgement on GE:-

1. Remote sensed imagery has been available for some time, although at a cost.
2. Those who want to use it for evil puposes will get it by other means anyway.
3. Most countries currently have programs for imagery capture and distribution. (Imagery of the Lucas Heights reactor is already available from an Australian government website).
4. GE is, I believe, a threat to the big GIS vendors eg ESRI and Mapinfo (Its a much better (or at least more interesting and user friendly) product too and its free!). So maybe they will try to shut it down.
5. Is GPS (GNSS) a threat too? As it can show anyone (who can fork out $200 for a receiver) where they are anywhere in the world.
6. GE simply delivers useful spatial data.

So what's right or wrong?

08-08-2005, 11:50 AM
Terrorists often use soil pipes to build bombs. So why aren't soil pipes forbidden ?

... I hope you see my point ...

08-08-2005, 03:33 PM
Terrorists often use soil pipes to build bombs. So why aren't soil pipes forbidden ?

... I hope you see my point ...

Agreed. Censorship is not necessary, and will have no effects at all. One who wishes to get a aerial photo of the Capitol will have it, by GE or not.

08-08-2005, 10:20 PM
Agreed. Censorship is not necessary, and will have no effects at all. One who wishes to get a aerial photo of the Capitol will have it, by GE or not.

This is exactly the point. If somebody wants to carry out a terrorist attack, he is fewest reliant on Google Earth. Today you can get maps from anywhere you want to. Getting one should be the smallest problem for a terrorist.

By the way: Have you ever thought of the sense of sending satellites into space, taking High-resolution images and afterwards censor them ? ;-)

08-08-2005, 11:19 PM
If they really wanted to then they could just go to the nearest petrol station and buy a street directory. It shows clearly where the reactor is anyway.
Do we start censoring that too??

08-09-2005, 02:51 AM
Exactly, and thats why this is all so rediculous.. frankly, you'd think that the terrorists would prefer real maps as their primary support anyway, i'd imagine jumping on a WiFi provider in Junee is a little out of the question *chuckle*

All this threatening of censorship is reminding me of the Ruskis (mainly Stalin, but others did it to) releasing new editions of the encyclopedia every time someone turned on them & was killed, the new edition would have all photos & information on that person erased, as if they never existed.


While we are on the discussions of terrorism & Australia.. did you all hear about that rediculous "emergency terrorism evactuation plan" that was put forward at the beginning of the week? the "lets all rush to hyde park & olympic stadium" one? - i see a terrorist pre rigging hyde-park and homebush, setting of some petty little car bomb near the airport so we all "evacuate" and killing us all efficiently with 2 bigass bombs. This is down right moronic.. monkeys could defend themselves better. Frankly, I'll be right here at home, miles away from danger.. wondering why no-one is online.



08-11-2005, 09:55 AM
Thanks for bringing that one up araT.... the mind boggles at those we vote into office.

08-13-2005, 10:58 PM
When I tried to view the White House (1600 Pennsylvania Ave., Washington, DC, USA) what came up was drawn buildings in the vicinity of the White House, rather than actual images. Any info on this? :-?

08-14-2005, 10:03 PM

Make sure 3D buildings is turned off (unchecked).
The Capitol area is in hi-def, even the Pentagon, but the White House and some adjoining buildings are lo-res and highly pixilated.

I'm not sure what they are trying to hide here, but I feel much safer knowing terrorists can't use GE to find a secret enterance to ambush Bush.
(Please excuse the sarcasim).

08-15-2005, 01:51 AM
Here is a NR in FL, USA.

As far as GE censorship goes, I see three possibilities;

1) Not use the technology. (I doubt it)

2) We use the technology, but control it; i.e.; government, military, the chosen ones. (most probable)

3) Everyone can have access.

Which would you feel more comfortable with?

Captain Hornblower
08-15-2005, 04:00 AM
The Capitol area is in hi-def, ...
And the Capitol itself? Verify this ;)

08-15-2005, 04:38 AM
I think he was saying the Capitol area, but not the capitol itself. Anyway, heres a nuclear plant near Phoenix where I live. Pretty hi-res.

08-18-2005, 01:58 AM
Well it's all pretty clear now.
(meaning the resolution @ the white house is no longer "censored".)

08-25-2005, 09:27 PM
Dudes, the 9/11 Terrorists used MS Flight Simulator to train with ....... so what ?
Censorship always hits those who are no thread to anyone ... the real terrorists can get their need info anywhere else