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Report: Google Aiding Governments After Concerns With 'Earth' Program

POSTED: 09:43 AM ET, 08/27/2008 by Derek Kravitz

Google has been increasingly helpful to U.S. and foreign intelligence services in taking down images from its Google Earth program when concerns arise about the possibility that terrorists could make use of the pictures for planning attacks, according to a government report prepared by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence.

The report notes concerns voiced by government officials and terrorism experts about Google Earth, including Dick Leurdijk, who said "potential terrorist targets could be made more vulnerable to terrorists thanks to the detailed images created from satellites and aircrafts available via Google Earth."

"As the initial shock wore off, five main responses to the 'Google threat' emerged from nations around the world: negotiations with Google, banning Google products, developing a similar product, taking evasive measures, and nonchalance," the report says.

The office's Open Source Center last month prepared the unclassified report, "The Google Controversy -- Two Years Later," which discusses foreign news reporting related to Google Earth and government response to online mapping. It was obtained by the Federation of American Scientists and posted on its Secrecy News Web site.

By Derek Kravitz |  August 27, 2008; 9:43 AM ET
Previous: Michigan Governor Could Remove Detroit Mayor | Next: The Daily Read


Please email us to report offensive comments.

As innocent as removing images from Google Earth at the request of government it sets a really bad precedent for government regulation of the internet.

Posted by: Chris Dunning | August 27, 2008 2:49 PM

Google helps the Chinese govt all the time.
It's about making money, not doing the right thing.

Posted by: Bill J | August 27, 2008 3:02 PM

No one is surprised by this, We know that big corporations are controlled and are turning over Citizens information to our Government... They scratch each other back..So what to do, just stop using google! Help change the laws back to when we held our Government and the companies responsible for there actions....NO MORE SPYING ON AMERICAN CITIZENS! NO MORE HOLDING INFORMATION ON US FOR 15 YEARS... This is not Democracy it is called Fascism...

Posted by: nallcando | August 27, 2008 4:29 PM

Conspiracy-minded enthusiasts need not worry of Big Brother as there are so many internal safeguards and oversight mechanisms to avoid civil liberty abuses. Further, despite all our efforts more people will continue to get away with evil-doing than will be caught with all the surveillance, domestic collection, and security mechanisms being legally implemented but sadly are not well coordinated and executed. Further, if one is not doing anything illegal, then one has no worries. Quite frankly, Uncle Sam's minions could care less about how citizens spend their free leisure time (unlesss it is clearly illegal and/or subversive) as it is the 1% of government anarchists and terrorist sympathizers that are our biggest threat and thus warrant every resource available to discover and neutralize. The expectation of privacy that the American citizen enjoys and expects continues to be the highest priority when applying the required oversight to legally authorized domestic intelligence collection for appropriate investigations. Mainstream media is woefully ignorant and sometimes deliberately skew a story to as to stoke the fires of paranoia among a populace that does not understand how the intelligence community works. WE are far from a dictatorship, fascist state, or communist security state and those who make that claim are ignorant of history and of our very Constitution. Bottom line: Our Nation-State must protect itself from both internal and external security threats through a comprehensive but legally aggressive security program designed to detect and neutralize these threats. Anything less and our executive government would be remiss in its duties to protect the citizenry. Quite frankly, the terrorist exploits our open and civil-liberty minded society to plan and execute their evil deeds and they must be stopped. This can only be done when all Americans get on board with the winning team and accept that life as we knew it can not continue without the vigilance required of those sworn to protect us, it really is that simple folks.

Semper Fi

Posted by: Marine Officer | September 2, 2008 8:23 AM

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