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Sitemap Sep-Archive-05 Google's Satellite Picture Service Spooks South Korea

Google's Satellite Picture Service Spooks South Korea  

South Korea has expressed concern about a service offered by US Internet Company Google that shows satellite photos of sensitive facilities in the country, the president's office said.

First the US Military was worried about Google Earth due to the fact that military bases in Iraq could be found easily and now South Korea is crying foul over the software.

The office said Seoul was in talks with Washington over Google Earth, a map search engine service from the US portal site, which makes available images of South Korea's presidential office and military facilities including air force bases and naval ports.

South Korea is not the only country raising concerns over the images. Earlier this month Australia asked Google to remove images of a nuclear reactor but later dropped the request.

As Google's satellite photos are beyond our control, we are in discussion with US authorities, presidential spokesman Kim Man-Soo said. He said Google Earth's satellite photos sparked "security concerns."

South Korean newspaper reports in recent days have noted that the Google Earth service provides images of the presidential Blue House and military bases in the country, which remains technically at war with communist North Korea. North Korean sites such as its main nuclear research facility at Yongbyon are also displayed on the service, which was launched in June.

It all depends on the resolution of the pictures, a government official told Yonhap news agency. Just because there is a picture of a naval port does not mean the whole security system is on alert, but if the resolution is greater than six meters ‘20 feet’, security could be an issue, he said.

After acquiring Keyhole, a map producer specializing in aerial photographed maps, in October last year, Google launched the service in June to offer maps of countries across the world.

The Register has the money shots so you can take a look for yourself and decide whether or not they pose a reasonable threat.

On a related note, Google Earth Hacks has some Katrina images as does this page on Flickr.

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