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Google! Terrorism! Iraq! It's a Trifecta!

By - January 14, 2007

Googmapsiraq

Terror Rats Go Google” screams the NY Post. My God, they’re using Google Earth to figure out where the British bases are!

The Telegraph has the measured story. The images are clearly old, but then again, who knows if “coalition forces” have moved anything around in the past few years. They might be totally accurate outlines of how things are in the British bases. It’s amazing to think that no one figured on Google Earth being used by terrorists, and at least asked Google to help out. I mean, that’s kind of what intelligence agencies are supposed to do, no?

A Google spokesman in the piece:

A Google spokesman said the information could be used for “good and bad” and was available to the public in many forms. “Of course we are always ready to listen to governments’ requests,” he said.

“We have opened channels with the military in Iraq but we are not prepared to discuss what we have discussed with them. But we do listen and we are sensitive to requests.”

Just now, they’ve opened channels? Just now, thanks to a raid, the folks running army intelligence realized that Google Earth exists?

Lord, help us.

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6 thoughts on “Google! Terrorism! Iraq! It's a Trifecta!

  1. John, imagine how much less exciting this would have been without the words “just now” in “just now, they’ve opene3d channels?”

    Now go back and look at what the Google spokesperson said. Do you see the words “just now” anywhere?

    There. All better.

    (For further evidence, have a look at this Google Earth link. Notice that the image of the White House has lost significant detail. Or this view of the National Security Agency HQ at Fort Meade. Google has been in touch with the government all along.)

    (Now, for extra credit: ask yourself how you found this egregious bit of silliness so believable, even when you started by pointing out it was a silly story?)

  2. Oracep says:

    Coning (thinking index) is 64% for the Telegraph story. You mention that it is a ‘measured’ story. I guess you meant ‘inconclusive and not particularly balanced’, since 64% means just that: mid level background, mid level analysis, low level judgement. And the Google component is meagre, averaging 56%:

    42%] A Google spokesman said the information could be used for “good and bad” and was available to the public in many forms. “Of course we are always ready to listen to governments’ requests,” he said.

    70%] “We have opened channels with the military in Iraq but we are not prepared to discuss what we have discussed with them. But we do listen and we are sensitive to requests.”

  3. Bravo says:

    It’s not the first time someone has claimed Google Earth might be a security risk: Schneier rebuttal.

    It’s a little silly: the images are often years old and the images have nothing to do with the root problems. Accurate targeting information can come from a variety of sources. Isn’t it better to be worrying about why these ‘terrorists’ are getting close enough to use their weapons and how they are being supplied with targetable munitions?

    Isn’t it more of a concern that foreign forces are entrenched for so long that satellite imagery that is months old accurately represents their positions?

    How silly and petty.

  4. Jack says:

    When Google Earth came out, there were great high-res photos of the area surrounding the American Embassy in Japan. When I checked again a year ago those had been replaced with low-res images, so clearly this has been going on for some time. Of course It might not have been the US leading the charge. There are a number of other embassies in the area.

  5. Mooney says:

    Yea. I use google earth all the time. Was wondering when the government was going to get involoved in fixing pictures…

    Crazy

    Justin Mooney

  6. lnahinu says:

    This is interesting how smart our intelligence really is about stuff like this. Somehow we don’t think anyone will use the stuff that’s put out there for everyone but we think they are going to use the most secretive stuff that they can find. We just need to send in a person that uses the public software and see how the enemy can use it. Yay to intelligence for not figuring this out on time.

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