When it comes to Google Earth, most governments are worried about the help that the app could provide to terrorists and other similar criminals.
The fact that governments also use the app to consider ways of arresting criminals or conduct fights against criminals hiding in specific places provides a valid reason for the worries. Google Earth is the product of a commercial vendor – Google. However, this has not stopped governments from using it to aid their fights.
Formerly, governments would rely on their highly secretive and classified spies to obtain information regarding the known hiding places of criminals. The emergence of Google Earth and other similar mapping tools have made work much easier for governments. Similarly, the emergence of such tools has also simplified the work for terrorist organizations and other types of criminals.
Google Earth is a free program that anybody can get online. The fact that Google Earth is the source of high-resolution satellite-quality photos has made the worries by governments appear all the more valid. The emergence of such tools has forced governments to consider hiding some of their most sensitive facilities. Governments do not want images of such installations being made visible to people with ill intentions around the world, and at no cost.
With Google Earth, the user can fly to any place on earth while viewing not only satellite imagery but also maps, streets, and terrains. With such information, rogue states and criminals would have no problem mapping the route or location to target and the best escape route. Google Earth has also created several ways in which to use classified imagery. Fortunately, reports indicate that Google Earth does not have better images than what government satellites provide.
Therefore, it is safe to say that while Google Earth tries to make its images as clear and quality as possible, these cannot get to the standard of what photos from government satellites provide. In this regard, Google probably sees this as the only way of not being seen to provide terror groups with too many details that would make their targets much easier to achieve. It is also worth noting that Google Earth does not produce it’s own images but relies on the following:
- Digital Globe
More importantly, these two commercial entities obtain a critical portion of their income from the US and other foreign governments. Consequently, such entities would not want to jeopardize that by making images of crucial installations to criminals.