One week after Apple announced it was booting Google Maps from iOS and photographing the world with its own aerial fleet, a top US Senator has written to both companies expressing concern over their "military-grade spy planes." "Barbequing or sunbathing in your backyard shouldn't be a public event," said Senator Charles Schumer …
Don't leave BING out of this.
BING has had arial photography "Bird's Eye View" from planes for a few years now. Feel left out that you aren't also hammering on Microsoft. Whe The Reg and it's readers miss an opportunity to say something bad about Microsoft it hurts!
Re: Don't leave BING out of this.
Multi-map had Birds Eye View for years, MS bought them and shoved it in to Bing.
Schumer thinks this is new???
Given how much he blathers on aviation issues he doesn't understand, I think he heard "plane" and thought he needed to say something.
Digital Orthophoto Quarter Quads (DOQQs) have been available from the US Geologic Survey (USGS) for years. Some states/counties allow you to download them for free. Otherwise they can be readily purchased on DVD. They have more than enough resolution for a slightly trained imagery analyst to pick out and target critical infrastructure.
My county, like Anonymous Bosch's (above), also does full aerial photogrammetry sweeps every five years. This is quite common though the frequency varies by state/county/city. Such sweeps are already used to locate structures built without permits. My county is going through the process now and sending out inspectors.
I find it much more likely that Google, Apple, and other would simply license the existing photogrammetry datasets rather than refly everywhere. In certain targeted areas not already covered by LIDAR or other 3D aerial mapping, they might do selective area coverage.
Oh the irony
It's ok for the US Government to use UAVs to spy on the innoncents all around the world, but God help any corporation who tries to film me flipping burgers on a sunny Sunday afternoon!
Do you know who I am?
Seems ironic really
Given that the most dangerous place to be in America is between Charles Schumer and a camera.
suggestions with no force of law
re: suggestions with no force of law - American based corporations have no issues with doing anything legal, or marginally legal. So... nice words falling on deaf ears.
Issue of Scope
I'm a lot more concerned about the secret things that the military/CIA/FBI/NSA/DEA, and all sort of other government agnecies, are doing with UAVs, than I care about Apple or Google.
@philbo (was: Re: Google?)
Terrorists simply do not exist!
If they existed on the scale that the governments would like us to believe, then why are we not under constant daily attack??
They dont need accurate map data to disrupt our infrastructure, they just need to toss a scaffold pole into an electricity substation, or chuck a shopping trolly on a train line, or even simpler, park a truck in the middle of a motorway.. all of these things would cause serious disruption and be deemed terrorist attacks, but they are just not happening!!
Therefore i conclude that terrorists do not exist.
Re: Terrorists simply do not exist!
"Therefore i conclude that terrorists do not exist."
Haven't you met PETA?
Scary Surveillance Society overnight
All very amusing - but I would rather they were not allowed to just go ahead and take these kind of images without prior legal authorisation at all. If there was some process they had to go through to apply for this access, they would likely be refused most of the time and the process would be long and drawn out even in cases where they did gain access. Instead this "act first and ask later" routine is absolutely incredible and has led us into the realm of a sci-fi style surveillance society without any choice or process on our part, virtually overnight - especially since at this rate it is surely not long before the satellite views become live or you can order your own drone flyby online!
There is a point in this
If I take my ladder (first order of business would technically be to buy a ladder, but well) and start going around in my city, climbing above hedges and photographing gardens and houses in a systematic fashion, and then go home and upload it to "www.gardensnhomes.com" for all to see, then I am fairly certain that I've broken the law at some point.
Is this not similar - in relevant ways - to what Google/Apple is doing? If not, why not?
Gotta like this
Chuck Schumer is worried about Google and Apple using "military grade" aircraft to map? Pot, the kettle called, it said you're black. No worries about local police departments (and other agencies) using the same drones to keep tabs on citizens? Way to make a stand Chuck.
Am I the only one wondering...
What does the senator have or do in his back yard that he's so worried people will see?
4-inch resolution isn't that good. It means you can see a feature that is 4"x4". You may not be able to identify it all that well. You certainly could not use it to identify somebody from the photograph.
"blur out images of individuals."
At a four inch resolution how much more blurry does he want it? A boob would be four pixels at best.
Not even CSI can sharpen that resolution
Mr Schumer merely wishes to protect the present government monopoly
on aerial devices that fly around talking pictures, videos, whatever of people ; note this recent Wired article : http://www.wired.com/dangerroom/2012/06/64-drone-bases-on-us-soil/. Alas, against these machine, Rik's advice «to close your drapes» is unlikely to prove effective....
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