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Google Street View raises Israeli security fears

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posted on Feb, 22 2011 @ 07:39 AM
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Google Street View raises Israeli security fears


www.google.com

Israel says it is considering ways to allow Google Street View to photograph Israeli cities, despite concerns the popular service could be used to plot terror attacks.

An official statement says a team of Israeli Cabinet ministers instructed experts Monday to work with Google to find a safe way to implement the feature "as soon as possible."
(visit the link for the full news article)


Related News Links:
www.jpost.com
www.latimes.com

Related AboveTopSecret.com Discussion Threads:
F.C.C. Investigates Google Street View
Google CEO: "Don’t Like Google Street View Photographing Your House? Then Move"
Google Street View logs WiFi networks, Mac addresses




posted on Feb, 22 2011 @ 07:39 AM
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As cool as it can be to take tours of the world from your computer and as useful as it can sometimes be, Google Earth and Google Street View continue to hover around a fine line.

It makes sense to me that Israel should have security concerns about both Google Earth and Google Street View. Everyone should—from both the personal privacy and security and national security points of view—and many people have been expressing concerns. for quite some time now. (Google Zooms In Too Close for Some.) Israel, as does any country, does have a fair bit of historical landmarks and government areas to protect.

However, I wasn't really aware that anyone could actually prevent Google photographers from taking photos on/from public roads and in public places. I looked up recent news/threads and found at least this from Reuters from 2010: U.S. ends inquiry on Google's Street View cars. There are also a few related threads here at ATS (see links). Also, it does seem certain places, like the White House are Street View-restricted. I'm sure that applies to things like military bases and other government facilities (but not to our homes). The concern in Israel, however, seems more broad.


U.S. federal regulators have closed an investigation into Google Inc's "Street View" maps service, saying the company has taken steps to address privacy concerns raised by its improper collection of emails and other personal information.

This seems to have more to do with their methods of taking the views than the views themselves? (See related thread.) Similar concerns going on in Britain and Italy, France, Germany, Spain, and Canada.

It seems to me we didn't really have much of a choice about this when Google photographed the U.S. I know that some areas in Google Earth are blanked out and that many of the captures are old (the photos of my own house is 10 years old in Google Earth, but Street View is a lot more recent), but where do we draw the line?

An article from the ACLU gets into it a bit: Protecting Privacy on Google Street View: No Walk in the Park.


The issue of still photography of the public streets presents the need to balance two important civil liberties issues- the right to privacy and the free speech right to photography in public spaces which has also been under assault since 9/11.

However, particularly with Google now having face recognition technology for photo search, the privacy implications of these types of photo-based services will only grow.


As for the situation brewing in Israel about this? Google has thus far declined to comment. I bet they did (check out the related thread on that). From an LA Times article about Israel's concerns:


Google said it had no specific time frame for launching Street View in Israel. In an e-mailed statement, a spokesperson said: "We aim to offer the benefits of street-level imagery to users all around the world, however, we have nothing specific to announce at this time."

But some in Israel are sounding the alarm.

"We already have problems with Google Earth, which exposes all kinds of facilities," retired Lt. Col. Mordechai Kedar told the Associated Press. The 25-year veteran of Israeli intelligence said that Street View could facilitate terrorist attacks.

I think this is a very valid concern for everyone and that it's good that Israel is bringing this to the forefront. This needs revisiting, and often. It might also be another case of the type of hypocrisy and paralysis we see wherever national security butts head with commerce and their objectives clash or where governments find value in having this kind of information available on the one hand and make trade offs on the other hand. Even in Israel, there seem to be conflicting points of view—some seem almost eager to cooperate and others have concerns.

The ACLU is right. This is no walk in the park.

www.google.com
(visit the link for the full news article)
edit on 2/22/2011 by ~Lucidity because: (no reason given)



posted on Feb, 22 2011 @ 07:52 AM
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What’s the difference from using maps and postcards or pictures.
Wouldn’t that show pretty much the same thing.

And you can also look up any public building or history of a place on the internet or in a book, shows you what it looks like, it’s not as if google are giving out the blue prints to buildings...yet...

or am I missing something, because that’s all my google earth shows me.



posted on Feb, 22 2011 @ 08:01 AM
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reply to post by Whateva69
 

This is more about Google Street View, which is a bit more three-dimensional than a postcard or a photo. Logistically speaking, this is a step up. As for Google Earth, it uses satellite imaging of one sort. And we know that another sort of imaging that can view inside buildings is available. I guess we can draw our conclusions from there?



posted on Feb, 22 2011 @ 08:02 AM
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There was a lot of discussing, when Street View started over here in Germany.
Google finally offered to pixelize houses, if the owners wished so. According to Google they got 244.000 applications before they even started.

After Street View was online things got calmer. Some even wished to de-pixelize their houses, but this was not possible, because Google had to delete the raw-data, too. Those, who want to have their houses pixelized after they are online, simply click on a button and give an email address. (Funny enough, everybody can pixelize everybody's house that way, because no further verification is needed.)

I myself found it very comfortable and amazing, when I was planning our holidays in Spain last year and could "drive around" the hotels. The one, we finally chose, could only be seen from the front side, although there was a street on the back side, too. But there were the pools.



posted on Feb, 22 2011 @ 08:10 AM
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reply to post by Siddharta
 

Oooh. I didn't know that (I'm learning more about it looking at this story). Thanks for the information. Very interesting. Maybe that's available here in the U.S. too, the opting out. It's kind of funny about people changing their minds too once they saw it, and that the controls were lax enough to allow people to pixilate each others' information. Yet another way to get cyber revenge


I agree that it can be a very cool feature. It's one of those areas where you can see both the positives and the negatives, the benefits and the potential for abuse, and can have a hard time deciding where the fair balance is. Overall, it seems we're thinking about and doing the right things.



posted on Feb, 22 2011 @ 08:53 AM
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Originally posted by Whateva69
What’s the difference from using maps and postcards or pictures.
Wouldn’t that show pretty much the same thing.

And you can also look up any public building or history of a place on the internet or in a book, shows you what it looks like, it’s not as if google are giving out the blue prints to buildings...yet...

or am I missing something, because that’s all my google earth shows me.


Hi Whateva - There isn't much difference except that using google maps and street view makes things easier for those who would do us harm. For example, with a few key pieces of information you can get someone's address, but if you wanted to say, rob their house, you would have to drive by first, observe and figure out your plan. You run the risk of someone seeing you suspiciously around the area. With street view, it could mean you could do this from the internet with no chance of anyone seeing you.

The other thing is that with google maps you can get a very good idea of terrain features around a certain area. I got interested in how we secure our borders and wondered how easy would it be to cross into the USA from Canada. Using google maps I quickly found features like this:




Those two structures are only about 2500 feet from each other across the border. There are no fences in between, just dense forest. Unless there are frequent patrols, cameras, motion or sound sensors monitoring this particular area it appears to me that I could easily cross on foot from one structure to the other under cover of darkness carrying anything I wanted to. In the morning, hop in a waiting car and you are on your way.

I found dozens of areas like this. I'm sure the bad guys could too.



posted on Feb, 22 2011 @ 11:48 AM
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reply to post by tsawyer2
 

Great example. Thank you. Again, I can see the concern. I'm sure Google is more than aware of it as well.



posted on Feb, 22 2011 @ 05:58 PM
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reply to post by tsawyer2
 


lol... I have the giggles now. I’m such a good person, I have no idea how naughty, wicked people think lol.

I’m on google earth, driving in my car, it’s so clear you can see the purple flames on it. When I first saw it I was like hello there’s me and I waved at my computer screen



posted on Feb, 22 2011 @ 06:28 PM
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Originally posted by Whateva69
reply to post by tsawyer2
 


lol... I have the giggles now. I’m such a good person, I have no idea how naughty, wicked people think lol.

I’m on google earth, driving in my car, it’s so clear you can see the purple flames on it. When I first saw it I was like hello there’s me and I waved at my computer screen


ROFL...find my house and I will wave back!!

Seriously though, this technology has been beneficial to everyone, including those who would do others harm. My profession is based on thinking like they think and finding ways to secure things, whether physically or electronically. Interesting jaunts on google maps or earth give me a good idea of what they are looking at physically. Interesting jaunts with network tools let me see what they see electronically. I make up scenarios for myself and those that work for me and ask they think about what the bad guy would do. Then we put them into "action" so to speak. To test the both the offensive techniques and the defenses we employ. The equivalent of a military exercise so to speak. You gotta think like the enemy to attempt to predict the next step they will take.
edit on 22-2-2011 by tsawyer2 because: missed a line



posted on Feb, 22 2011 @ 07:00 PM
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reply to post by tsawyer2
 


Your job sounds pretty important.
Your explanation makes it a better for me to understand the security involved.

I still think its naive of the Israeli government to think google earth makes planning terrorist attacks any easier.

I think terrorists are crazy and insane and nothing is going to stop a crazy person from blowing stuff up. If they can’t get close enough to their target, they just drop it then and there, even if it’s not the designated area they had plotted out. Their all mad and looney .

But I'm grateful that there are good guys out there trying to stop them.



posted on Feb, 22 2011 @ 07:57 PM
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Originally posted by Whateva69
reply to post by tsawyer2
 


Your job sounds pretty important.
Your explanation makes it a better for me to understand the security involved.

I still think its naive of the Israeli government to think google earth makes planning terrorist attacks any easier.

I think terrorists are crazy and insane and nothing is going to stop a crazy person from blowing stuff up. If they can’t get close enough to their target, they just drop it then and there, even if it’s not the designated area they had plotted out. Their all mad and looney .

But I'm grateful that there are good guys out there trying to stop them.


My job isn't that important in the overall scheme of things. I just protect property and people and information for my company. I'm not some world wide planner for the government or anything. I take it serious though.

You are right, it doesn't matter if they have these tools or not. They will strike with or without them.

It reminds me of some of my training in the military. I was asked whether a triple strand of razor wire around a compound was security. I said yes. The answer is no. It only provides a deterrent to those who will do you harm.

There is almost no security against the most determined attackers. Vigilance plays a key role, and mostly that is human oriented. Humans are fallible, so, sometimes no matter how much technology you have at your disposal, sometimes the bad guys get a win.
edit on 22-2-2011 by tsawyer2 because: grammar



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