Saturday, October 07, 2006

"Coalition Against Google Earth?"

In the latest Government of India vs. Google Earth telenovella. . . The Hindustan Times reported this week that the Indian government has asked its Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) and other scientific organizations to discuss the security risks of applications like Google Earth. The Indians feel that by discussing the potential use of commercial imagery and free applications—like Google Earth—by terrorist organizations they can gain support towards creating an international law related to commercial imagery. Brief notes about this potential law hope to restrict resolution and location of images. The law would also seek prior consent of a nation who was to be imaged. I'm not a diplomat, I'm all for getting useful information into the hands of the public. I believe the Indians do have a legitimate security concern, but I am also in the belief that more good than bad can come from the availiblity of imagery, maps, and applications to map our world. If you have more good people looking out for the community, wouldn't you think that could help thwart any threats? On a side note, I've noticed that GE has implemented an "Alternative Names" layer in v4. Is this to appease the sorts of international pressures that apply to toponyms?

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