Fuzzy, low resolution pictures and distorted building plans is how the government and Google Earth have agreed to get around concerns that images of sensitive military and scientific establishments available on the Web could either allow unauthorised snooping or become a ready reckoner for terrorists.
At a recent meeting between ministry of science and technology officials and Google Earth representatives, it was decided that installations identified by government would be carefully camouflaged. This, it was felt, was better than an outright blackout. Apart from well-known sites like BARC, there are many less prominent ones, and blacking them out would only attract attention to their locations.
Images of these locations will not be of more than 25-50 metre resolution, more like the older generation pictures provided by Indian Remote Sensing satellites. Official sources said Google Earth would distort building plans by adding structures where none existed or masking certain aspects of a facility. This could be done without attracting attention to such establishments, which range from laboratories, mines, military sites, space and atomic centres and residences of high-profile VVIPs.
The government list of such sites would be accepted by Google Earth. The controversy over Google Earth's images had gained momentum after Kalam, in October last year, expressed concern that unrestricted pictures on the web could have worrisome security implications. [via]