Posted by: reisendame | February 5, 2007

Google Earth Doctors its Depictions

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After the Indian government raised security concerns over Google Earth’s detailed presentation of sensitive locations in India last year,  Google has finally decided on a censored version. Indian officials requested that areas such government buildings, plans for key facilities, and military bases be excluded from the satellite service. Google reasoned that changing the resolution to distort the images would be most effective, because blacking out the areas would certainly call more attention to them. What’s interesting about this issue is the fact that a corporation like Google even has the capabilities of accessing and controlling this kind of private information. Google may not necessarily consider itself to be a “news outlet,” but it essentially is a source for information. There are a few ethical journalistic issues that can be addressed here. First of all, how far can Google go in terms of “invasion of privacy”? Other countries like South Korea, Australia, and Russia have reportedly demanded similar censorship of their homelands. It seems as though Google would show anything it could until someone expresses a desire for privacy. Not only does the corporation have hoardes of information at their fingertips, but now we can see its power to distort “reality.” This leads me to the question of how valuable Google Earth truly is. If all the countries in all the world jump on the Indian bandwagon, is there any real reason to continue stalking the world with satellites? It seems that Google Earth may be more about money and power than providing a beneficial or even useful educational tool. Online articles from CBC News, the Times of India, and Macworld.com provided several perspectives on the background information.

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Responses

  1. I think it’s kind of silly — I’m not calling you sill Ashley– that a government is worried about Google. Just about every government in the world has access to those same sattelites and ones even more sophisticated. In fact, the Indian government probabaly has access to satelites that are looking down on Quinnipiac University right now.


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