California Assemblyman Joel Anderson (R-El Cajon) has proposed legislation that would probably make people look askance at California again. Seriously, he has proposed AB-255
, a bill that would require online mapping services such as Google Earth to blur satellite images of schools, hospitals, churches, and government buildings, all in the name of security.
Those not in compliance would face heavy fines, $250,000 for each day, in fact.
The bill states:
(a) An operator of a commercial Internet Web site or online service that makes a virtual globe browser available to members of the public shall not provide aerial or satellite photographs or imagery of a building or facility in this state that is identified on the Internet Web site by the operator as a school or place of worship, or a government or medical building or facility, unless those photographs or images have been blurred.
(b) An operator of a commercial Internet Web site or online service that makes a virtual globe browser available to members of the public shall not provide street view photographs or images of the buildings and facilities described in subdivision (a).
Yep, (b) indicates no Google Street View either. Street View has previously been banned from U.S. military bases. And of course, this bill would affect other services, too, such as Microsoft's Virtual Earth.
Here's what Anderson told Computerworld
"We heard from terrorists involved in the Mumbai attacks last year that they used Google Maps to select their targets and get knowledge about their targets. Hamas has said they were using Google Maps to target children's schools," said Anderson. "What my bill does is limit the level of detail. It doesn't stop people from getting directions. We don't need to help bad people map their next target. What is the purpose of showing air ducts and elevator shafts? It does no good."
Here's what Anderson said in a Q&A with C|Net
"I'm not against the technology; it's fantastic. But we're in an evolving world and we have to change our course as it changes. I'm all for online mapping, but knowing where the air ducts are in an air shaft is not necessary for me to navigate in the city. Who wants to know that level of detail? Bad people do."
Troop movements, predator aircraft
, that sort of thing, I can definitely see blurring, but perhaps we can use this tech to our advantage, as well. After all, the Allies fooled the Germans into believing the Normandy invasion was going to hit somewhere else
by using Patton and his phantom army.
However, it's nice to see the GOP is continuing their efforts to scare Americans. On the other hand, he might have a point. What do you readers think?