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Senator agitated over Apple, Google's mapping methodology

updated 02:48 am EDT, Tue June 19, 2012

Planes allegedly discriminate objects smaller than four inches

Senator Charles E. Schumer (D-NY) recently sent letters to Google CEO Larry Page and Apple chief Tim Cook decrying usage of "military-grade spy planes" used to generate the 3D images for new map applications for both companies. Concerns range from invasion of privacy all the way up to assisting terrorism in providing details of infrastructure and sensitive government facilities. Neither Apple nor Google have publicly responded to the senator's call to action so far.

Schumer says that "high-resolution 3D mapping may have some very useful and practical applications, but the technology that is reported to be used by these companies brings a level of precision that has never before been utilized for public purposes. " Schumer is concerned that a technological race between the two internet behemoths could have the ultimate cost of erosion of basic privacy, and elevating security risks.

Apple and Google have been called upon to provide four concessions: notify communities when the mapping is taking place, automatically blur identities of people who are pictured, give property owners the right to opt-out of mapping, and put protocols in place with law enforcement to guarantee that sensitive information will be blurred on published maps.

Google's existing photographic map service blurs out selected secure installations, but as shown below, the Norfolk Naval Base submarine and destroyer piers have good fidelity, even using older technology. The legendary and formerly-secret "Area-51" is redacted in Google maps, however. The technology in use by Apple and Google currently is allegedly capable of seeing into windows, and distinguishing objects as small as four inches in diameter.

Schumer wished to strike a balance between privacy and technology. Schumer added "while the use of this technology may well have very functional and important uses, we need to make sure that reasonable protections are in place to protect individuals and the public."

Google plans on mapping over 300 million residences by the end of 2012. Specific mapping plans have not been laid out by Apple, but plans to supplant Google Maps have already been specified for iOS 6.

by MacNN Staff



  1. mr100percent

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Not him again

    Oh no, not Chuck again. The same guy who demanded that google ban certain anti-American youtube videos?

  1. Bobfozz

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Shumer's always been an idiot...

    The government invades our privacy ALL the time... and Shumer is bellyaching because a private concern is doing it? Our rights are being eroded every day. The government, Google reports, has thousands of requests out to DENY certain searches... so much for freedom of speech What's next?
    Shumer is always doing and saying something dumb...I can't believe he was elected.

  1. MyRightEye

    Joined: Dec 1969


    ^^ Thank you

    for saving me some keystrokes.

  1. ctt61

    Joined: Dec 1969



    When Does He worry about National Securities. There are so many sensitive informations leaking out from this administration. I bet that these cronies are afraid that this map might put them at place that they are not suppose to be. LOL

  1. TheGreatButcher

    Joined: Dec 1969


    This is stupid

    Please, other countries already have commercial satellites capable of better than 1m resolution. The genie is out, get over it.

    This is the same Senator that didn't want to let DARPAnet be released to the public and eventually evolve into today's Internet. Oh, and he also supported SOPA and PIPA. This guy shouldn't be allowed anywhere near tech legislation much less a computer.

    Note to Senator Schumer's staff: Please let the Senator know that the Internet is not a series of tubes so he doesn't continue to s**** up like Ted Stevens.

  1. Tanker10a

    Joined: Dec 1969



    I cannot wait for IOS 6

  1. lkrupp

    Joined: Dec 1969



    Only the government should be able to spy on its citizens, not Apple or Google.

  1. Hillbilly Geek

    Joined: Dec 1969



    Brought to you be the makers of IRS and NSA

  1. Mr. Strat

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Good ol' Chuckie

    He's such an a$$wipe.

  1. Inkling

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Pandering or Paranoid

    First, I doubt either company is using "military-grade spy planes" since that'd refer to something like a U-2 or a modified jet fighter. What they're no doubt using are commercially available drones like those also used by the military. This senator really ought to calm down. Neither Apple nor Google is going to unleash a Hellfire missile on us.

    The best way to keep the terrorists from winning lies in all the things we don't do because of them. Their goal is to make us cower down, to restrict our liberties, and to constrict our lives out of fear of what they might do. This clueless senator is doing precisely what they want us to do, as are the twits who run the TSA. When shouldn't be hunkering down. We should be proud of our openness. I'd love to see some people with the talents of those who did Monty Python take on this Islamists.

    The proper way to deal with terrorism, as G. K. Chesterton pointed out almost a century ago, is to mock them and make fun of them. Wanting to be taken seriously, nothing hurts them more than ridicule.

    And of course, when caught in the deed, they should be quickly tried and executed in some unheroic fashion, such as by hanging. That's why the British officials who sent to Lockerbie terrorist back to Libya to die a hero ought to summarily dismissed from office. In their folly, they were merely the mirror image of this Senator Schumer. Pandering to terrorists is as cowardly as being paranoid about them. Both indicate a lack of courage.

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