President A P J Abdul Kalam has expressed concern over the security threat posed by Google Earth's free mapping program.
President A P J Abdul Kalam has expressed concern over the security threat posed by Google Earth's free mapping program available on the internet.
Speaking at a top-level meeting in Hyderabad on Saturday, President Kalam voiced concern regarding "sensitive areas clearly marked on Google Earth". He asserted that terrorists and other subversive elements would use these images for their nefarious activities. Kalam also said that present laws are inadequate and that stringent laws are required to restrain the use of these pictures.
Reflecting concerns expressed by countries like South Korea, Thailand and Netherlands, Kalam expressed regret that some developing countries, already under the specter of terrorist attacks, have been chosen to provide high resolutions. As regards India, the Google site depicts among others, clear images of Army headquarters, Parliament House, Rashtrapati Bhavan and other defense establishments.
The Ministry of Science and Technology has apparently woken up to the alarm sounded off by President Kalam. Reportedly, the Ministry has started evaluating images of sensitive locations, in close conjunction with security agencies.
However, the defense arm of the government appears divided over this issue. Last month, the armed forces said that they had already factored into their plans, the threat of satellite imagery of their military bases, available freely on the Net.
Similarly according to sources, frontline IAF bases are said to have "adequate protection systems" in place, while satellite images of say "INS Viraat" berthed at Mumbai, do not make any difference, as ships are supposed to be "mobile platforms - here today... gone tomorrow".