Indian Court Wants To Ban Google Earth In The Wake Of Mumbai Attacks

from the oh-please dept

You just knew this was going to happen eventually. Pretty soon after the attacks last month in Mumbai concluded, reports started coming out about how the terrorists made use of a variety of modern technologies to plan and execute the attacks. A few reports claimed that they had used Google Earth to familiarize themselves with the locations involved in the attacks (some reports had claimed that the terrorists had never been to Mumbai and just used Google Earth — but other reports contradicted that).

However, an Indian Court is now calling for the software to be banned saying that it “aids terrorists.” Of course, so do maps or photographs of hotels, such as those placed online by the hotels themselves, but people aren’t overreacting and calling for a ban of those things as well. Yes, we can understand the kneejerk reaction here, and the anger over these horrific attacks. But, banning Google Earth isn’t the answer. If Google Earth weren’t available, the attacks still would have happened. It’s just that the planning would have been different. It’s perfectly natural for people to lash out at technology used in a bad way after a tragedy, but hopefully the court won’t overreact and will eventually realize the anger should be at the people who actually performed the attacks, not the tools they used.

Filed Under: , , ,
Companies: google

Rate this comment as insightful
Rate this comment as funny
You have rated this comment as insightful
You have rated this comment as funny
Flag this comment as abusive/trolling/spam
You have flagged this comment
The first word has already been claimed
The last word has already been claimed
Insightful Lightbulb icon Funny Laughing icon Abusive/trolling/spam Flag icon Insightful badge Lightbulb icon Funny badge Laughing icon Comments icon

Comments on “Indian Court Wants To Ban Google Earth In The Wake Of Mumbai Attacks”

Subscribe: RSS Leave a comment
PaulT (profile) says:

Yeah, because nobody could possibly have planned the attacks with a paper map or knowledge gained from reconnaissance trips instead!


@Chronno S. Trigger: Try to apply some intelligent thought. Just because they used those systems to plan the attacks does not mean they would not have happened if the technology wasn’t available. Maybe the co-ordination wouldn’t have been so precise (not necessarily a life-saver), maybe they’d have used black market military surplus instead of consumer models.

Either way, banning those devices would stop India from competing in a lot of modern business effectively while doing nothing to stop terrorism. I know you’re a familiar name around here, but I would have hoped someone apparently taking their name from a classic RPG would know how to use logical thought some of the time.

Chronno S. Trigger says:

Re: Re:

Sarcasm, Paul. I was pointing out that it would be incredibly stupid to ban Google Earth just because someone could use it for nefarious purposes.

I was also pointing out that if they do ban Google Earth then they would also have to ban all tools that were used to make the attack easier. Those were just the one mentioned in the article, this could easily extend to boats.

Joe King says:

Serious problems with this article

Mike, I don’t know if you realized it, but there are multiple problems with this article. First off, the title is *all* wrong. It should read:
European Tourists and American Companies fail to visit or relocate to India In The Wake Of Mumbai Attacks

Next, replace the “anger over these horrific attacks” with “Price conscious companies”. Lastly, any reference to Google earth need to be replaced with “Abdul, who goes by ‘Joe King’ while at work”. And Vola! You got it right. A true winrar.

Andy (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Banning, blurring or whatever is not the way forward. Concealing information on the grounds that it might be misused just opens the door to any number of abuses.

As others have suggested, taking this approach to its logical (if extreme) conclusion, will pretty much result in everything being banned!

Frankly I find it disturbing that the “knee-jerk” reaction of governments and others to almost any problem is to call for some kind of ban or other restriction of information or freedom.

“We have nothing to fear but fear itself”.

American Indian says:


Yes… because I can see how the terrorists… who planned the whole thing from PAKISTAN, would really be inconvenienced by India not being able to access Google Earth. Unless they mean to try and get Google to completely remove their maps of India entirely… and perhaps we can remove the entry of India from Encyclopedias too. Actually… let’s just remove India… set a few well placed nuclear weapons and break it off the main continental mass, allowing it to become the Isle of India!

Then… mine the water and put laser aimed, automated gun torrents around the perimeter of the island so no one can get through!

That’ll keep those terrorists out!

RonCam001 says:

Ban the software, they said ... ?

The court is calling to “ban the software”. What software? The only software running when viewing Google Earth would be the browser and OS.

Will the court stop at banning MS Internet Explorer, or is their definition of “software” broad enough that the OS has to go as well? This is a Linux or Mac conspiracy?

Mojo says:

Cell phones are probably the #1 tool used by terrorists – it allows them to plan and execute their schemes with much greater ease, and it seems that the vast majority of bombs are triggered via cell phone.

So banning cell phones (or knocking down all the cell towers) would hurt the terrorists MUCH more.

But we know that will never happen, so there really is no point to banning ANY technology.

Andy (profile) says:

Brilliant idea

It has just come to me. I can’t believe nobody has thought of this before.

It was terrorists who did this, right? So…and you’re gonna kick yourselves when you hear this…let’s ban terrorists! There problem solved. Can’t believe it was so easy. You can thank me later.

Whaddaya mean terrorism is already illegal (=banned, right?) and yet it still happens? Some misunderstanding surely?

Oh, I get it, so banning something and stopping bad things happen are not cause and effect. Wow, this one is tough to solve!

Add Your Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here

Comment Options:

Make this the or (get credits or sign in to see balance) what's this?

What's this?

Techdirt community members with Techdirt Credits can spotlight a comment as either the "First Word" or "Last Word" on a particular comment thread. Credits can be purchased at the Techdirt Insider Shop »

Follow Techdirt

Techdirt Daily Newsletter

Techdirt Deals
Techdirt Insider Discord
The latest chatter on the Techdirt Insider Discord channel...