Calif. Bill Restricts Internet Maps to Foil Terrorists

By Harry Kimball,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 3, 2009 5:37 PM CST

(Newser) – A California assemblyman wants his state to force Internet mapping services to distort the images of schools, government buildings, and similar institutions because they could be terrorist targets, the AP reports. Republican Joel Anderson introduced the measure after reading that terrorists used services such as Google Earth and Microsoft's Virtual Earth to plot assaults in India and Israel. Even if a law is passed, however, enforcement could be near impossible.

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“Just taking a picture of a building is not a threat,” one privacy advocate normally critical of Google said, “because these images have been available for decades.” While most of the imaging is already public, Google has often voluntarily removed or obscured sensitive information. The White House and some military bases are blurred in pictures, and no detailed street images exist for Israel, which fears the service is used by Hamas. (Read more California stories.)

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