Thursday, February 19, 2009

Google Earth wrongly blamed

Here's the headline from yesterday:

Google Earth Exposes Secret U.S. Drones at Pakistan Base in 2006


http://www.foxnews.com/politics/elections/2009/02/19/google-image-shows-base-pakistan/

Well, I have to take exception to this scare tactic.

I worked for the company that was sold to Google that became Google Earth. We were very, VERY careful about what we put up on our web site available to the public. In 2003, before the Gulf War, we had daily meetings to make sure that nothing in our database of imagery could be of use against US and coalition forces. The President of our company was (and is) a patriot, and security for the US was #1 with him.

Our imagery was never real-time...we provided satellite imagery and aerial photography that was typically 6 months to 2 years old. All our imagery came from the commercial satellite companies and companies that flew planes with stereo cameras...and it was available to anyone who would pay for it. So we were very clear that we wouldn't be the first to put new imagery out there, but we'd follow if it was already in the public domain.

Now, for Fox (or anyone else) to sensationalize this by saying Google Earth (GE) "exposes" anything is downright B.S. Sure, you can see things in GE that are sensitive. But the US Government is asking the satellite companies to clear their data, plus the commercial companies are not giving out the best resolution imagery. We used to talk about 1 meter imagery, and 1 foot imagery. 1 meter resolution means you can see something that is 1 meter in size, but can't see something smaller. The idea that Google is giving away "secret" info is preposterous.

The US Military knows when the commercial satellites are overhead, so my bet is that the Gov't wanted this info out, so they parked the Predators on the tarmac at the right time, knowing that this would come out. If they wanted it hidden, they could keep it hidden -- trust me. Hell, this is a picture from 2006!

I never saw ANY classified imagery while there...we only worked with commercially-available pics. Don't blame the messenger.

1 comment:

Vince said...

Our imagery was never real-time..
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Vince

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