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Google Removes Street Views Of Military Installations
engine




msg:3594339
 6:26 pm on Mar 7, 2008 (gmt 0)

The Pentagon banned the Internet giant's digital-mapping vehicles from all military installations after detailed photographs of Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio appeared on Google Maps.

"We don't have any issues regarding Google and their products, which are very useful tools," Ross said. "But the Street View provides clear imagery of control points, barriers, headquarters and security facilities that pose a risk to our force-protection efforts."

Google, based in Mountain View, Calif., said it erred in collecting the information from the base and has since complied with the military's request to take down the images.

Google Removes Street Views Of Military Instalations [latimes.com]

 

balam




msg:3594354
 6:44 pm on Mar 7, 2008 (gmt 0)

Also see: [webmasterworld.com...]

Propools




msg:3594369
 7:03 pm on Mar 7, 2008 (gmt 0)

Let me pose some food for thought. In college, last century, I took a Real Estate Law class. One thing the professor let us know was the answer to "Just how much of your property do you really own?". In short, he said that property owner's across the U.S. own the air space directly above their property, up to the height of the tallest building in the U.S.

Now, I'm a HUGE fan of Google too, just like the government but if I've got a privacy fence around my property, pool, barn, whatever and I've got things there that I don't want seen, what right does Google or anyone else have to take aerial photograph's of what might be inside my privacy fence.

Would that not be an invasion of privacy on my real property? I'm not saying this is the case in point, but just suppose.

Scenario:
You have a 20 foot concrete wall enclosing an area on your property so that no one at ground level could see what's behind the wall. This wall was built for SECURITY/PRIVACY. Inside said wall is housed 20 or 30 High End Luxury Vehicles that you wanted to keep out of public view because of risk of vandalism, theft, etc. Would you want an aerial photograph shown to the world depicting what may be behind said wall?

This presumes that, in fact, my professor was and still is correct.
But I'm not a lawyer. :)

skibum




msg:3594393
 7:30 pm on Mar 7, 2008 (gmt 0)

Not sure who the more irresponsible party is, the govt or Google.

A message sent to all Defense Department bases and installations around the country late last week told officials to not allow the popular mapping Web site from taking panoramic views inside the facilities.

Apparently making money and having a complete map is more important than national security & why the *()*(*& would the DoD let Google take pictures inside the facilities?

jomaxx




msg:3594394
 7:31 pm on Mar 7, 2008 (gmt 0)

Propools: These are street-level photographs. I imagine they have legal advice to the effect that there are no insurmountable problems with what they're doing.

Military bases are a slightly special case, though. I'd like to know how they got permission in the first place to go around photographing an entire army base.

Hugene




msg:3594395
 7:33 pm on Mar 7, 2008 (gmt 0)

I think that you answered you own question: if you own the space over you house up to the tallest building, then, I flying on a plane, higher than the highest building in the US, can take pictures of your property, inside your 20 foot fence, totally LEGALLY, just like I can take a picture of your fence LEGALLY from the street.

Your argument breaks down, because, if you truly want to protect the luxury vehicles, you need to build a ROOF over them.

rogerd




msg:3594400
 7:50 pm on Mar 7, 2008 (gmt 0)

One other little detail about owning your airspace is that one could observe your property from a great height without being directly over your property.

I'd imagine there is actually some case law on this involving people who earn their living by taking celebrity pictures from the street, from helicopters, etc. Privacy laws would be different for a celebrity, but not property laws.

One other legal wrinkle is using photos of property for gain. I recall a suit brought by some guy whose house appeared in an ad photo without his permission.

One thing I'm curious about is whether private property owners can request removal. I stayed at a hotel in a major city and was surprised that any image of the hotel in the street view appeared to be blurred out. (If you saw the hotel, you could understand why that wouldn't hurt their marketing effort.:)) At first I thought it might have been bad timing involving a passing truck, but then I began to wonder...

Propools




msg:3594402
 7:52 pm on Mar 7, 2008 (gmt 0)

Hugene - I knew I forgot to put something over those cars. I guess it's a good thing I keep the windows up, so the rain doesn't get in.

But I will challenge jomaxx and Hugene to say that with this wall there is a certain amount of "expected privacy", No?

Propools




msg:3594426
 8:19 pm on Mar 7, 2008 (gmt 0)

rogerd, That's my guess too....Case Law. You know it's funny, on the way out of the parking lot after first posting to this I was thinking the same thing.
One thing I'm curious about is whether private property owners can request removal.

If they allow webmaster's to do a URL removal request, why couldn't they do a "Don't Map Me Bro" request?

jomaxx




msg:3594437
 8:28 pm on Mar 7, 2008 (gmt 0)

Street level. Street level. Photographs are taken at street level, in fact actually from the street itself. Your wall will give you all the privacy you need.

FWIW, there's been at least one other widespread implementation of this already. It was A9.com, owned by Amazon.com. As far as I can tell they abandoned this part of their business, although I suppose it's possible they sold the technology and/or their photograph database to Google.

Propools




msg:3594440
 8:39 pm on Mar 7, 2008 (gmt 0)

Right, Street Level and the wall would work. But what about if used Satellite in Google Maps and zoomed all the way in?

WAIT Fort Campbell, KY is the nearest base to me. Somebody, please help me out here but can you not see the streets, etc. if you zoom in using satellite on Google maps? Try it. Switch back and forth between Maps and Satellite. One is greyed out, the other is clear as a bell. "Expected Privacy".

Propools




msg:3594445
 8:52 pm on Mar 7, 2008 (gmt 0)

I'm sorry. I'm not singling out Google by any stretch. They just happened to be the one I was using. I haven't tried Live or Yahoo, but I will.

Propools




msg:3594449
 8:57 pm on Mar 7, 2008 (gmt 0)

I get the same thing on Live.

Propools




msg:3594457
 9:05 pm on Mar 7, 2008 (gmt 0)

It's official. I'm wasting time and should be working. It's Friday and they're calling for snow. So, I kind of feel like "slip sliding away". ;) Have a good weekend everybody.

Propools




msg:3594495
 9:50 pm on Mar 7, 2008 (gmt 0)

Not to mention, getting slightly off topic. Sorry. :(

carguy84




msg:3594506
 9:58 pm on Mar 7, 2008 (gmt 0)

Welcome to Propools' blog.

;)

Propools




msg:3594518
 10:09 pm on Mar 7, 2008 (gmt 0)

I saw that someone else was using WebmasterWorld as a blog forum, so why not. Actually I wasn't blogging as much as I was rambling. :o

Propools




msg:3594520
 10:12 pm on Mar 7, 2008 (gmt 0)

In thinking about it EVEN MORE, I wonder if the gov. shouldn't have just gotten some great big <NOINDEX> signs and put in front of their locations. LOL OK, I'm done..... for today.

koan




msg:3594548
 10:33 pm on Mar 7, 2008 (gmt 0)

What about military installations of other countries?

balam




msg:3594589
 11:23 pm on Mar 7, 2008 (gmt 0)

> I'm done..... for today.

Don't run off so fast, Propools! With this post, you'll only represent half the posts in the thread - and your "blog" seems to just be starting to roll! Besides, do you really want to go and shovel snow? ;)

> What about military installations of other countries?

Street Views is currently only available for select cities in America. Potentially being in breach of Canadian privacy laws has prevented Canadian cities from appearing on the service. Similarily, laws in some European countries could prevent Street Views from ever being used there.

Some nations have requested the removal or blurring of their military bases, or other sensitive areas from Google Maps. Israel springs to mind. Can you even imagine the military of any country consenting to an American commercial venture coming through and extensively photographing their secure facilities? Shoot, I was shocked that they could get away with that in The States, given the security climate! (Although, to be fair, entering the base was a violation of Google's policy to not photograph private roads & facilities where the public has no access.)

Why two threads on the same subject?

Miamacs




msg:3594628
 12:16 am on Mar 8, 2008 (gmt 0)

Don't Map Me Bro

I laughed out loud reading this one

... what a cool blog this thread is... *heh*

I was wondering how they could make it less intrusive so other countries wouldn't ban their minivans up front. Perhaps if it was opt-IN.

- Operator? I'd like to call a Google van. Yes, this is the new secret NATO rocket base in Poland. Yes. Yes we're open 24hrs. Thanks. Bye.

Or... like 'family frost' in Europe or the preacher/political campaign/toilet paper exchange vans in Japan they could be playing some kind of a melody or have speakers on... giving you time to... uhm... hide.

if the gov. shouldn't have just gotten some great big <NOINDEX> signs

This shouldn't be the privilege of the government only. Perhaps this would be the right time to advertise the new offline web cloaking device: the NOINDEX NOCACHE NOARCHIVE neon sign [tilt varies between 0 to 90 degrees based on which Google spy-network is aiming its cameras at you].

Or alternatively the budget version, cut these words into your lawn.

...

If I was the US Military, I'd say 'ok, you can map us, but then promise to map the [insert terror network name] bases as well okay? In fact map THEM first! See you!'

...

You gotta love Google.

They see no evil [en.wikipedia.org]

Sometimes there is a fourth monkey depicted with the three others; the last one, Shizaru, symbolizes the principle of "do no evil".

oh...kay. 2 out of 4. Could replace the Google logo sometime soon.

Dave_B




msg:3594635
 12:18 am on Mar 8, 2008 (gmt 0)

It is always nice being able to sit in my backyard and watch the holiday fireworks at Ft. Sam Houston, now I should worry about non holiday fireworks.

SEOMike




msg:3594717
 2:54 am on Mar 8, 2008 (gmt 0)

I laughed pretty hard when noindex was mentioned above. That's good. I think I'll go to the print shop and get a NOINDEX sign printed for my yard. Wonder if the text would get blurred out... Oh, and anyone have any idea how often Google's streetview people drive around? The picture of my house looks like it was taken someone in June of last year, on a Thursday. (I can tell by the weekly paper in my drive) Oh, and there's a pretty clear view of the Streetview vehicle. Pretty neat setup.

celgins




msg:3595019
 3:32 pm on Mar 8, 2008 (gmt 0)

From skibum:
Not sure who the more irresponsible party is, the govt or Google..... Apparently making money and having a complete map is more important than national security & why the *()*(*& would the DoD let Google take pictures inside the facilities?

There was a little irresponsibility on both sides. Google's mapping team isn't supposed to request access to private roads, government/military installations, or other secure areas. Apparently, a Google "mapper" broke policy in the Fort Sam Houston case. Also, security personnel at Fort Sam should've conducted a better investigation before allowing the map team on base.

From jomaxx:
I'd like to know how they got permission in the first place to go around photographing an entire army base.

That's the thing. The Department of Defense never explicitly gave Google permission to map its installations.

There are several Army installations (such as Fort Sam Houston) where visitors are allowed. Those visitors and their vehicles are thoroughly checked at the gate, but they are often granted entrance as long as they don't possess weapons... (ie. to attend functions, shows, military museums, etc.). Other installations that directly support national security or national interests... (such as Fort Knox or Redstone Arsenal) ... are restricted in several ways.

The Google mapping team would've had plenty of issues trying to enter those installations.

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