Google Earth partially blamed for Mumbai terrorist attacks


The terrorist attacks in Mumbai have once again put Google Earth in an unfavorable light. The one (“baby-faced”) terrorist that police caught has said that the terrorists used Google Earth the help plan the attacks. (That they also used everyday cellphones, GPS and other technologies appears to be lost on the ban happy Indian officials.) In order to prevent future attacks, so the line of thinking goes, officials there want at the very least to force Google to blur our sensitive sites from the software, if not ban it outright.

Let’s also keep in mind that India plans to launch its own version of Google Earth, so to speak.

While it seems an overreaction to me to want to ban what amounts to an electronic map—are we looking to ban regular, paper maps now?—in no way was I affected by the attacks, at least not directly, so it’s hard for me to qualify India’s reaction. It does seem that attacking (banning) tools instead of the idea and forces behind those tools is folly.