Politician Wants Google To Blur Street View Images Of Buildings; Next Up: Blurring Reality

from the oh-come-on dept

A California politician has introduced some legislation that would require companies like Google that offer "street view" photographs of certain areas to blur images of certain buildings, including schools, gov't buildings, churches and hospitals. The argument is that such photos allow terrorists to plan attacks. Next up, we're wondering if Assemblyman Joel Anderson will also demand that we blur reality. Anyone can walk by these buildings in public (like Google did) and take a photo. Unless he's going to force all cameras to take blurry images, it seems pretty ridiculous to think that this law makes sense. If terrorists are going to attack a building, they'll figure out a way to do so whether or not some of the images are online (and, as some have pointed out, most of these buildings have photos online already... on their own websites). It's really getting ridiculous seeing politicians freak out about a technology just because it could be used for terrorism.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    Beta, Mar 4th, 2009 @ 10:41am

    For the children. Terrorism. Fear of new technology. Non-innovative solution. Even if you don't want to be protected.

    Yes, this looks typical, and I'd bet Mr. Anderson doesn't really care whether his proposal ever becomes law, as long as it gets him votes.

     

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  2.  
    identicon
    Avatar28, Mar 4th, 2009 @ 10:53am

    other terrorist tools

    Prepaid cell phones.
    Voice over IP
    Instant Messaging
    Email
    Encryption of any type.
    Snail Mail
    Cars
    Cameras
    Web pages
    Payphones
    Pagers

    We should probably try to ban all of these as soon as possible.

     

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  3.  
    identicon
    matt, Mar 4th, 2009 @ 10:56am

    the taliban loves i-phones

    Did anyone see that AP article of the taliban guy who was in guantanamo for four years using his i-phone which he loves for the GPS capability?


    Someone needs to arrest Steve Jobs for furthering terrorist agendas. We also need to make i-phones illegal because the terrorizers use them.

     

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  4.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 4th, 2009 @ 11:12am

    Re:

    Do California voters base their votes on how foolish their representatives are? "Ah, this guy's a complete Bozo -- better vote for him!"

     

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  5.  
    icon
    sehlat (profile), Mar 4th, 2009 @ 11:17am

    Why is anybody surprised by this?

    Politicians blur reality all the time.

     

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  6.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 4th, 2009 @ 11:20am

    Re: Re:

    If he were still alive, I'd definitely vote for Bozo - he made more sense than most politicians.

     

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  7.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 4th, 2009 @ 11:23am

    Re: Re: Re:

    Sad, but true. Really, really sad.

     

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  8.  
    identicon
    Thom, Mar 4th, 2009 @ 11:25am

    Bah..

    It's just grandstanding, the politicians don't really believe Google street view is useful to terrorists, they just think they can convince the people that it is and that they're doing good jobs. If the politicians really wanted to stop terrorism they'd work on otlawing the number one tool of terrorists - politicians.

     

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  9.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 4th, 2009 @ 11:26am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Bozo could have helped you with that, too...

     

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  10.  
    identicon
    swfan1963, Mar 4th, 2009 @ 11:35am

    What a tool!

    That dude needs a smack up side the head. Next he'll want map makers - online and in print - to remove all of those institutions from every map on the face of the planet because they help terrorists and other really bad scary people figure out how to GET to those places. Jerk.

     

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  11.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 4th, 2009 @ 11:38am

    All the manufacturering of diesel fuel and plant fertilizer should also be outlawed.....

    Will it never stop?

    Maybe a ban on ignorant politicians, I believe they do more good for the terrorsts than any other single group.

     

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  12.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 4th, 2009 @ 11:56am

    Scramble suits for everyone!

     

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  13.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 4th, 2009 @ 11:59am

    The politicians knee jerk reactions could promote someone somewhere to a 'terrorists' so should we blur the politicians too?

     

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  14.  
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    Anshar, Mar 4th, 2009 @ 12:12pm

    If this guy thinks that blurring our certain buildings will prevent terrorists from attacking them then I say we let him have his way. In fact, let's blur out every street view image on google - except for Mr. Anderson's house.

     

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  15.  
    identicon
    Nathan, Mar 4th, 2009 @ 12:23pm

    Thomas Jefferson

    Those who are willing to give up liberty for the sake of security deserve neither.

     

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  16.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 4th, 2009 @ 12:28pm

    Re: other terrorist tools

    Rope
    Bleach
    Gasoline
    Glass bottles
    Baby powder (the fear is the tool, not what white powder you might use)
    Cigarettes (drop one to cause a wildfire)
    LEDs and wires (woman arrested in airport for a light-up T-shirt, advertising campaign cripples Boston)
    Peanuts (what if someone claimed the salmonella contamination had been done on purpose and threatened to do it to hamburger?)
    Bicycles (small ones withdrawn because of lead laws)
    Batteries
    Backpacks
    . . . .

     

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  17.  
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    Eclecticdave (profile), Mar 4th, 2009 @ 12:32pm

    Re: Thomas Jefferson

    Benjamin Franklin I think you'll find ...

     

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  18.  
    identicon
    DS78, Mar 4th, 2009 @ 12:46pm

    Just delete it.

    They should just deny California the service all together. Then lets see what they say...

     

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  19.  
    identicon
    Dan, Mar 4th, 2009 @ 12:48pm

    "Unless he's going to force all cameras to take blurry images..."

    Once the technology to selectively do so makes it even remotely feasible, they will try..absolutely they will. You watch.

     

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  20.  
    icon
    chris (profile), Mar 4th, 2009 @ 12:58pm

    Re: other terrorist tools

    also:
    disposable cameras
    long range optics
    batteries
    cash
    wire transfers
    soldering irons
    box cutters
    copper wire
    hand held radios

     

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  21.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 4th, 2009 @ 1:17pm

    Let's not forget those nifty satellite images map overlays that anyone anywhere can access. If you want to plan a terrorist attack there's nothing like a bird's eye view of your target plus that handy street name and traffic overlay is nice as well. Google maps really helps global terrorism because you can mail your fellow jihadists the map link with comments, pins and other useful killing-oriented information.

    Next election I'm voting twice for this guy. Man, that's what I call visionary leadership.

     

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  22.  
    identicon
    Mike Brett, Mar 4th, 2009 @ 1:22pm

    Thank you

    At last some one speaks some truth. Really which planet do we live on. You can only take this so far. Some one needs to stand up and say enough is enough. I am welcome to be shot down in flames, but really. Have some common sence. Are the politicians standing for the people, or have they lost their way.

     

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  23.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 4th, 2009 @ 1:24pm

    Re:

    "Google maps really helps global terrorism because you can mail your fellow jihadists the map link with comments, pins and other useful killing-oriented information."

    lmfao!!

    next thing you know they will be posting interactive attack vectors on their facebook page using the google maps api.

     

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  24.  
    identicon
    Overcast, Mar 4th, 2009 @ 1:26pm

    Why? The Government's more than happy to put up cameras everywhere.

    If they don't like it - they should lead by example.

    Are the politicians standing for the people, or have they lost their way.

    They haven't lost their way at all - they have just found various methods to make more money and get more control - and that's what they are doing.

     

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  25.  
    identicon
    Overcast, Mar 4th, 2009 @ 1:28pm

    Maybe a ban on ignorant politicians, I believe they do more good for the terrorsts than any other single group.

    Yes - there's one thing they will never, ever have to ban - that's common sense in politics... because, you can't ban what doesn't exist.

     

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  26.  
    identicon
    Mike Brett, Mar 4th, 2009 @ 1:39pm

    Leaky faucet

    Like a leaky faucet, you can curse it as much as you like, but the damn thing still makes your carpet wet. I still believe in government how it was concieved, And still we have damp taps, that spout when they should be turned off.
    Most have no idea what they talk about, and make more problems then they solve.
    Ask the people, we got you there, and we know more!!

    The wishes of the people far out rule the greed of the politicians.

    In a perfect world.

    Sorry if I am off the ball, just my little gripe.

     

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  27.  
    identicon
    rwieck, Mar 4th, 2009 @ 1:47pm

    Just another moron

    Politicians don't really care, as long as it gets votes. Most of them (at least the older ones - my age group) don't have a clue about anything more technological than driving a car or answering a telephone. Oh, that's right. They don't do those either as they have people to do it for them.

     

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  28.  
    identicon
    ChimpBush McHitlerBurton, Mar 4th, 2009 @ 2:04pm

    This is just good practice, people.

    This is a good idea, and I don't know what the fuss is about. In fact, this doesn't go far enough. Here's what I think we should do to protect national security:

    All politicians' photos should be blurred out to thwart any terrorist attempts on them.

    You're welcome.

     

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  29.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 4th, 2009 @ 2:14pm

    Kalifornia

    What a waste

     

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  30.  
    identicon
    Dan, Mar 4th, 2009 @ 2:27pm

    Neandrethal

    Who let this knuckle dragging throwback out of his cave? He doesn't seem to understand what maps intended purpose are, and what would he propose as an alternative to maps, folklore and dead reckoning? Now I understand why California is so deep in the hole, idiot politicians.

     

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  31.  
    identicon
    Richard Seerup, Mar 4th, 2009 @ 2:31pm

    I agree

    Yes, where does it stop? Terrorists use cars, boats, cell phones, etc. Again another politician who can only think of reactions to a problem. Doesn't anyone out there desire to actuall SOLVE the problem. And to think we voted for guys like this. We should all look closer next time we vote.
    I like what one response said, that all politicians photos should be blurred to thwart any terror attacks on them. Expand on that and also blurr out their names on the voting ballots.

     

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  32.  
    identicon
    wow, Mar 4th, 2009 @ 2:37pm

    California politions are taking the medicinal marjuana too much and are freaking out about nonsense.

    Just log everyones IP that uses google earth, and track down whoever looks are your important buildings too long. Im gonna go load it up zoom in on the white house and leave it running for a few days :D

    HAHA i should be a politician

     

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  33.  
    identicon
    Fitna El Salaam, Mar 5th, 2009 @ 6:35am

    Thank You

    Infidels:

    Thank you so much for the listing of modern tools in these comments with which we can rain destruction down on your shaven unclean heads.

    The most helpful thing is when American Politicians make a big deal out of how technology can be used for terrorism. We're not really that well informed but when there is such hue and cry we really can't miss it.

    I must now go, peace be upon you. Death to America!

     

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  34.  
    identicon
    General Snarksburg, Mar 5th, 2009 @ 8:30am

    > Anyone can walk by these buildings in public

    Actually, Bin Laden and his high-level planning staff can't walk by in public because they can't get into the country. Yet they can still research the buildings up, down and sideways thanks to Google.

     

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  35.  
    identicon
    TDR, Mar 5th, 2009 @ 10:56am

    Re:

    No, one of their CIA employers will just do it for them. No need for Google.

     

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  36.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 6th, 2009 @ 5:34pm

    Re: other terrorist tools

    Don't forget Organic Chemistry

     

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  37.  
    identicon
    Wiliam Hamilton, Mar 11th, 2009 @ 10:30am

    Russian Maps

    The Russians used to publish maps under communism which left out streets and put things in the wrong places in hopes of confusing their enemies. This meant that many of the published maps of their cities were impossible to use reliably. People would turn on the wrong street, walk to where they needed to go and find out it wasn't there. The best map of Moscow was printed by the American CIA and on sale all over the world. I'm not sure you were allowed to bring it into the USSR or not. In the end, as population, tourism and business grew they had to print real maps.

    They managed to plan Sept. 11th. without Google Earth and Pearl Harbor too.

    Of course the Government, actually a lot of Governments and the big corporations will still have high resolution mapping and geographical data. Regular people won't. We'll just pay for it.

     

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  38.  
    identicon
    Erin Fable, Mar 11th, 2009 @ 10:56am

    -sigh-

    "Q: Isn't the real threat here the motivation of people who look to commit heinous acts, rather than the technology they use?

    Anderson: I'm not against the technology; it's fantastic. But we're in an evolving world and we have to change our course as it changes. I'm all for online mapping, but knowing where the air ducts are in an air shaft is not necessary for me to navigate in the city. Who wants to know that level of detail? Bad people do." --cnn.com

    This is ridiculous. /I/ like to know where air ducts are. Not because I'm a /terrorist/, because I'm /curious/. Human curiosity is the beginning of all things good. It's hardly fair to rob the rest of us perfectly normal people of our highly detailed maps because of one terrorist. I read Anderson's argument that "I hear the argument that, "Yeah, I want to also ban cars because cars are used in robberies." Look, cars have other commercial uses..." Perhaps not cars. Guns? Explosives? I can't imagine much use for grenades outside of military zones except for outright killing.

    Point? I vote to keep my virtual maps clear and sharp as only Google can make them.

     

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  39.  
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    Eugene, Mar 11th, 2009 @ 11:16am

    the end

    good bye america

     

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  40.  
    identicon
    Mike, Mar 11th, 2009 @ 11:43am

    blurring Google Earth

    This bill is a total deception, by the time it gets finished all lawmakers will have their homes and properties blocked. All those improvements made will be blurred, there will be less checks on these opportunists. They really need to get the economy moving and not take advantage of the times to line their pockets. He's probably pissed since someone emailed him they could see the guys' pool.

     

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  41.  
    identicon
    Limey, Mar 11th, 2009 @ 11:59am

    and all terrorists are overseas

    so there wouldn't be any terrorist acts in the US if we blocked them from coming and shut off Google Earth.

    If only the pol's knew that before Oklahoma City, or Atlanta, we could have prevented all that loss of life.

    Google Earth is a fantastic tool, Anderson is a much-less fantastic tool.

     

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  42.  
    identicon
    PaperClip, Mar 11th, 2009 @ 2:00pm

    Mr. Anderson just made Terrorism Mapping easier!

    Not to be an ass in a sense, ... BUT!!

    If they blur/smudge whatever, all the government buildings, schools churches and what have you on the Google Maps, then any U.S. Educated terrorist will just target.... well, THE SMUDGES.

    DUH.... You just made it easier for them to find you.

     

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  43.  
    identicon
    meyer, Mar 11th, 2009 @ 2:02pm

    Re: other terrorist tools

    haha, I like this idea.

     

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  44.  
    identicon
    shakinghead, Mar 11th, 2009 @ 2:25pm

    I think they would find more benifit from banning guns than maps. I doubt someone who is doing a drive by will look at google's street view first. The street view and aerial view data is important to technology. I work with mapping applications daily and I've seen how useful this information can be.

     

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  45.  
    identicon
    fabergasted, Mar 11th, 2009 @ 2:31pm

    Baning any and every thing .

    This child profing any and ever thing is as crazy as we can get! 8 years of fear mongring is enouth claming it is (for the children or for your safty is a nother way of nothing else to loose)This goverment wants to be big brother and take all fredoms away so they can rob us all being totally dependent on them.(Thanks to George Bush )

     

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  46.  
    identicon
    John, Mar 11th, 2009 @ 2:58pm

    Stupid California Politicians

    How stupid can California politicans get? I heard that Osama bin Laden has hired the Taliban to find the California representatives house and do something nasty if he gets the bill passed to blur images on Google Earth. Haven't you idiots heard of the Freedom of Information Act?

     

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  47.  
    identicon
    Sheltered, Mar 11th, 2009 @ 3:09pm

    I Live in Fear!

    I don't ever want to go outside my bunker. The sky is falling!

     

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  48.  
    identicon
    Robert, Mar 11th, 2009 @ 5:52pm

    He has a point

    I see a lot of kneejerk reaction here. I work in high tech, am a frequent user of Google Earth, and have spent hours looking up sensitive locations precisely for my own entertainment. I can definitely see he has a point, even though the way he phrased it is bad, and I think this is more of a privacy and crime issue than anything to do with terrorism. Think of the implications here: suppose you are a criminal planning a robbery and a getaway route. You can now do all your detailed planning over the internet from the comfort of your home. There is little need to loiter at your target destination and risk being identified or questioned. Now, it'd be foolish to take away useful technology. That, however, does not mean technology doesn't come with unsavory aspects that lawful society ought to mitigate against. Obviously, there are legitimate questions on how California plans to implement this without international co-operation and agreement on where to draw the line. It doesn't mean politicians shouldn't debate ways to balance the need for technology versus maintaining a civil society.

     

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  49.  
    identicon
    Robert, Mar 11th, 2009 @ 5:52pm

    He has a point

    I see a lot of kneejerk reaction here. I work in high tech, am a frequent user of Google Earth, and have spent hours looking up sensitive locations precisely for my own entertainment. I can definitely see he has a point, even though the way he phrased it is bad, and I think this is more of a privacy and crime issue than anything to do with terrorism. Think of the implications here: suppose you are a criminal planning a robbery and a getaway route. You can now do all your detailed planning over the internet from the comfort of your home. There is little need to loiter at your target destination and risk being identified or questioned. Now, it'd be foolish to take away useful technology. That, however, does not mean technology doesn't come with unsavory aspects that lawful society ought to mitigate against. Obviously, there are legitimate questions on how California plans to implement this without international co-operation and agreement on where to draw the line. It doesn't mean politicians shouldn't debate ways to balance the need for technology versus maintaining a civil society.

     

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  50.  
    identicon
    Grigori, Mar 20th, 2009 @ 12:18pm

    Lets ban too

    yeah... and let's add EDUCATION to the list of banning's!
    with education, terrorist can learn how to use all sort of materials to bomb politicians...

     

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  51.  
    icon
    Pithecanthropus (profile), Aug 3rd, 2009 @ 2:25pm

    Most of L.A. is already blurred like a bad case of astigmatism.

    IIRC the proposed legislation died in committee, but I can tell you that all the business districts of Los Angeles that I have looked at are already blurred beyond any usefulness. Street View has turned into a joke and is utterly useless in this area. One might just as well look at a paper map and imagine the place in your mind's eye, for all Street View is worth.

    The blurring is such that large business signage cannot be clearly read from across the street and architectural details are mostly indiscernible. You certainly can't read addresses. From what I've seen residential neighborhoods are better, but in most cases there is not much reason to look at them.

     

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  52.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 12th, 2010 @ 5:45pm

    Re: Re:

    I think we would be better off with a monkey than our current legislatures, at least a monkey wouldn’t make things worse.

     

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  53.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 16th, 2010 @ 3:19pm

    The intended purpose of this bill is simply to remove content from the Internet to help businesses like the RIAA, MPAA, and Hollywood et al. Pretty soon the government may end up trying to tax anyone who distributes content and pictures and videos filming publicly funded buildings.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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