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.

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Companies: google, sas

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Comments on “Google Street View Criticized For Showing 'Secret' SAS Base… That Has A Sign Viewable From The Street”

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Jeff (profile) says:

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.

Anonymous Coward says:

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.

Jake (user link) says:

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.

UKChap says:

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.

enrolled agent certification (user link) says:

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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