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In the well-known original image, Churchill makes a "V" shaped symbol with his fingers – while gripping a cigar in the corner of his mouth. But in a reproduction of the picture, hanging over the main entrance to a London museum celebrating the wartime leader, he has been made into a non-smoker through the use of image-altering techniques. It is unclear who is responsible for doctoring the photograph, with the museum – The Winston Churchill's Britain at War Experience – claiming not to have noticed the cigar was missing. John Welsh, manager of the museum, admitted he was shocked to learn of the alteration, but declined to reveal who was responsible for the display and for enlarging the image.
A congressional subcommittee accused Google on Friday of “airbrushing history” by replacing post-Hurricane Katrina satellite imagery on its popular map portal with images of the region taken before the storm’s devastation. Citing an Associated Press report from Thursday, the House Committee on Science and Technology’s subcommittee on investigations and oversight asked Google Inc. Chairman and CEO Eric Schmidt to explain why his company is using the outdated imagery. “Google’s use of old imagery appears to be doing the victims of Hurricane Katrina a great injustice by airbrushing history,” subcommittee chairman Brad Miller, D-N.C., wrote Friday in a letter to Schmidt. Swapping the post-Katrina images and the ruin they revealed for others showing an idyllic city dumbfounded many locals and even sparked suspicions that the company and civic leaders were conspiring to portray the area’s recovery progressing better than it is.
Miller asked Google to brief his staff by April 6 on who made the decision to replace the imagery with pre-Katrina images, and to disclose if Google was contacted by the city, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the U.S. Geological Survey or any other government entity about changing the imagery. “To use older, pre-Katrina imagery when more recent images are available without some explanation as to why appears to be fundamentally dishonest,” Miller said. Edith Holleman, staff counsel for the House subcommittee, said it would be useful to understand how Google acquires and manages its imagery because “people see Google and other Internet engines and it’s almost like the official word.”