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Israel weighing Street View benefits despite security concerns


While Google’s Street View map service has sparked privacy debates around the globe, in Israel, government officials are worried that the service could endanger public figures by giving terrorists detailed information that could be used in carrying out attacks.

Israel has said that it was weighing whether to allow Google to photograph Israeli cities to promote tourist sites despite risks to privacy and safety. Israeli Cabinet members, led by Intelligence Minister Dan Meridor, have told experts to find a safe way to introduce the feature “as soon as possible,” according to an official statement. Cabinet members discussed the security and privacy implications of Google Street View and decided to work with Google in launching the service in the coming months, according to a statement.

But some in Israel are sounding the alarm. Retired Lt. Col. Mordechai Kedar told the Associated Press, “We already have problems with Google Earth, which exposes all kinds of facilities.” The 25-year veteran of Israeli intelligence said that Street View could facilitate terrorist attacks.

Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip have said they use Google Earth, which displays satellite images of homes and buildings, to identify targets for rocket attacks. The privacy watchdog group Center for Digital Democracy warned of another potential downside for Israeli citizens: It could be used for political purposes, including government surveillance.

Source: LA Times