Google Street View Criticized For Showing 'Secret' SAS Base... That Has A Sign Viewable From The Street

from the see-if-you-can-spot-the-base dept

Vic writes in to let us know of yet another complaint against Google's Street View offering, this time in the UK, where apparently MPs and military bosses are upset that images are available on Street View of a "secret" SAS base. They're concerned that the images even show the sign saying "British SAS." But, of course, the only way Google got these images was by driving along public roads -- meaning that anyone could have driven along those roads and seen the same damn signs and buildings. It's not like this was actually a secret base at all -- and if it was, the UK military should have done a much better job of hiding it. If Google can "accidentally" discover it this way, you have to assume that anyone who actually cares would have figured it out long ago. The complaint is that those planning an attack can view the building via Street View... but, of course, they could also just drive by and take their own images. Oh, and of course, by complaining so loudly about this, it's only attracted that much more attention to the fact that the base exists and is viewable on Google Street View.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
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    Rob.Etler (profile), Mar 25th, 2010 @ 1:04pm

    Oh dear, I do believe it's time for a Simpsons quote.

    Lisa: Yay! I found Area 51!
    Soldier: Actually, ma'am, this is Area 51-A.
    Map: You are here. We are not.

     

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  2.  
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    Jeff, Mar 25th, 2010 @ 1:18pm

    Striesand Effect Anyone?

    Ok, let's see. The sign is in public view and they just drove by. What the hell is so secret then. Maybe not that many drive that way and probably would never even notice it if they did. I would think the same would apply to the street view? If you were not caring to see what's along that street then I doubt you would look at the street view either.

    Of course now by going public and getting all pissy, you are just advertising its existence all loud and proud like.

     

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    DJ, Mar 25th, 2010 @ 1:27pm

    ?Streisand effect?

    Kind of....

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 25th, 2010 @ 1:42pm

    The UK has developed an incredible paranoia about cameras and video cameras (kind of like the US has about official national identification schemes). This seems more to do with an irrational phobia of photographs than anything else. I like their brainless little dig about how terrorists would use the images to plot attacks. Clearly Google supports terrorism.

     

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    Joe, Mar 25th, 2010 @ 1:47pm

    yeah why add more publicity to this?

    Wouldnt' they just ask Google to take a new street view picture and to schedule it so they can take down the sign when they do it? I think that would make more sense then throwing a hissy fit and letting everyone know about it.

     

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    Johnny Canada, Mar 25th, 2010 @ 1:48pm

    If I was planning an attack in the UK, the last place I would do it is on a SAS base.

     

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  7.  
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    Atkray (profile), Mar 25th, 2010 @ 1:51pm

    Re:

    You are correct in your belief.

     

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    chris (profile), Mar 25th, 2010 @ 1:54pm

    this is normal for all militaries...

    even in the US there are places on military bases, or whole bases, that aren't on maps, even thought he building is visible and there are signs in front of them. these places usually forbid photograpy and the like as well.

     

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  9.  
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    DJ, Mar 25th, 2010 @ 2:01pm

    Re: yeah why add more publicity to this?

    but they're so GOOD at hissy fits.
    Don't steal their thunder

     

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  10.  
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    DJ, Mar 25th, 2010 @ 2:04pm

    Re: this is normal for all militaries...

    Not on public land, though. The only places where photography is prohibited are actually ON bases/posts; some prohibit photography on the whole base, others in only select places.

     

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    PHOENiX451, Mar 25th, 2010 @ 2:22pm

    that reminds me...

     

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    Manu, Mar 25th, 2010 @ 2:41pm

    Looks like Brits are just crying for attention!!!

     

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    Valkor, Mar 25th, 2010 @ 2:42pm

    Re:

    When you say "UK" do you mean the citizens who are under the constant watchful eye of CCTV networks, or the corporations and governments that operate said CCTV? If there's photography paranoia in the UK, it's clearly not widespread enough.

     

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    Lawrence D'Oliveiro, Mar 25th, 2010 @ 2:55pm

    Re: Terrorist Attacks!?

    I like their brainless little dig about how terrorists would use the images to plot attacks.

    Since when is an attack on a military facility “terrorism”?

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 25th, 2010 @ 3:30pm

    Couldn't this problem just be solved by asking Google to photoshop the word "not" onto the sign somewhere?

     

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  16.  
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    dryfire, Mar 25th, 2010 @ 7:39pm

    Re:

    You don't want to attack a base for their most prestigious special forces?

    I can't see why...

     

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    Jake, Mar 25th, 2010 @ 7:50pm

    In all fairness, I can see why photographing a military installation is something the army might not be happy about, not so much because the location is a secret as because a photographic record of the base layout makes it considerably easier to plan ways of getting in. I dare say a single Street View shot of the main gates woouldn't be much use, but it's still something to potentially make life easier for anyone wanting to hose down the gatehouse with an Armalite or take out an outgoing vehicle with a roadside bomb. And I can remember when things like that happened in Britain all the time.

     

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    ChurchHatesTucker (profile), Mar 25th, 2010 @ 7:58pm

    Re: ?Streisand effect?

    No, pretty much exactly.

     

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  19.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 25th, 2010 @ 8:18pm

    Re:

    And Google having a picture of it is so much more dangerous than some terrorist driving by and taking a picture of it because...?

     

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  20.  
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    PaulT (profile), Mar 26th, 2010 @ 12:56am

    Re:

    :rolls eyes:

    Yes, because the US military would *never* do such a thing, right?

    http://www.theinquirer.net/inquirer/news/1031603/pentagon-blows-google

    People who live in glass houses, etc...

     

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  21.  
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    Graf, Mar 26th, 2010 @ 1:06am

    Not only, But also

    There is a history of the UK lettng people know where secret installations are. Follow this link to find out where they will hide if a nuclear war breaks out: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/travel/picturegalleries/signlanguage/3917183/The-best-of-Sign-Langu age.html?image=8

     

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    Rabbit80, Mar 26th, 2010 @ 3:21am

    Something that most people don't seem to consider is the height of the streetview cameras. For example - I have a tall hedge around my house which you cannot see over either driving or walking by. On streetview, the camera looks straight over the hedge into my front room.

     

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  23.  
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    UKChap, Mar 26th, 2010 @ 4:14am

    Oh do come on now

    Get real folks.

    It's just the local MP trying to look busy and get attention in the run-up to the election and the typical journo half-job to fill column inches. The journo asks a chap down the pub with a tattoo and he says "oh yes, photos of a base might be used in planning an attack" and that becomes "military sources have concerns".

    The government statement makes it clear that they understand they can't rollback the tide of publically available imagery eg Google maps/earth. No actual military chiefs are quoted so where did that come from?

    Move along, nothing to see here.

     

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    enrolled agent certification, Mar 27th, 2010 @ 8:53am

    Shouldn't have placed labels

    I haven't viewed this on Street View itself, but based on what I've read so far, Google probably shouldn't have labeled it as such on the site. Even if just about anybody can drive by on the place itself, it still is a lot of information for people who haven't been to the place itself.

    The SAS do have a point here.

     

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  25.  
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    DanVan (profile), Mar 27th, 2010 @ 4:57pm

    If the Google app is showing government buildings, they should be forced to not show them if the government asks them not to.

    I get it.

     

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