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.

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

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54 Comments
Anonymous Coward says:

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Bicycles (small ones withdrawn because of lead laws)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
. . . .

Anonymous Coward says:

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.

Overcast says:

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.

Mike Brett says:

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.

Richard Seerup says:

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.

wow says:

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 😀

HAHA i should be a politician

Fitna El Salaam says:

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!

Wiliam Hamilton (user link) says:

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.

Erin Fable (user link) says:

-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.

Mike says:

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.

fabergasted says:

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 )

Robert says:

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.

Robert says:

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.

Pithecanthropus (profile) says:

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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