New Delhi, India, 21 March 2007: Even as the high-resolution images of vital Indian installations on Google Earth have irked security agencies, Google Inc on Tuesday said it has not yet taken a decision on blurring aerial images of sensitive Indian installations available on Google Earth.
“We take security concerns seriously but obscuring images will not help. We have never degraded image quality. The images available on Google Earth are also available for purchase from various satellite companies in market. The government needs to deal with this issue at the level of satellite companies because they are selling images to us, mapping services are available commercially, sometimes free of cost and sometimes for a price. If images damage security then they need to talk to satellite companies. Blurring needs to be done by satellite companies. Targeting Google Earth will not fix the problem,” Andrew McLaughlin, head of Global Public Policy of Google, told ET.
At the same time, he was quick to point out that Google had not foreclosed the option of blurring images. “We are still talking to the Indian government and the idea is to reach a resolution and to ensure that all questions are answered and concerns addressed. We have not yet decided whether or not to blur some key sites,” said Mr McLaughlin.
President A P J Abdul Kalam had expressed concern over access to images of defence installations on the internet saying availability of the free mapping program could help terrorists with satellite images of potential targets. During his visit to Bangalore in April 2006, Kalam also called for a new law to prevent foreign satellites from getting images of sensitive locations in India and make such attempts a cognizable offense.