Google Earth used by terrorists in India attacks

Ex Indian president warned easy availability of detailed maps of countries from services such as Google Earth could be misused by terrorists.

The terrorists that attacked various locations in south Mumbai last week used digital maps from Google Earth to learn their way around, according to officials investigating the attacks.

Investigations by the Mumbai police, including the interrogation of one nabbed terrorist, suggest that the terrorists were highly trained and used technologies such as satellite phones, and global positioning systems (GPS), according to police.

Google Earth has previously come in for criticism in India, including from the country's former President, A.P.J. Abdul Kalam.

Kalam warned in a 2005 lecture that the easy availability online of detailed maps of countries from services such as Google Earth could be misused by terrorists.

A Google spokeswoman said in an e-mail Monday that Google Earth's imagery is already available through commercial and public sources. Google Earth has also been used by aid agencies for relief operations, which outweighs abusive uses, she said.

Indian security agencies have complained that Google Earth exposed Indian defense and other sensitive installations. Other nations, including China, have made similar complaints regarding military locations.

However the places attacked by terrorists last week did not come under the category of defense or sensitive installations. The information available to the terrorists on Google Earth about the locations they attacked is also available on printed tourism maps of Mumbai. The locations included two hotels, a restaurant, a residential complex and a railway station.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags terrorismmumbai terrorist attackGoogle Maps

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

John Ribeiro

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Cate Bacon

Aruba Instant On AP11D

The strength of the Aruba Instant On AP11D is that the design and feature set support the modern, flexible, and mobile way of working.

Dr Prabigya Shiwakoti

Aruba Instant On AP11D

Aruba backs the AP11D up with a two-year warranty and 24/7 phone support.

Tom Pope

Dynabook Portégé X30L-G

Ultimately this laptop has achieved everything I would hope for in a laptop for work, while fitting that into a form factor and weight that is remarkable.

Tom Sellers

MSI P65

This smart laptop was enjoyable to use and great to work on – creating content was super simple.

Lolita Wang

MSI GT76

It really doesn’t get more “gaming laptop” than this.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?