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News

Google street view deemed a potential security threat

InfoSecurity Europe : 25 March, 2009  (Technical Article)
The introduction of Google Street View in the UK is being met by criticism over lack of forethought regarding the potential national security threats associated with such a move
The organisers of the Infosecurity Europe, Europe's No 1 information security event, say that they are expecting a storm of controversy to erupt over the introduction of the Google Street View facility in the UK.

'The introduction of this service in the UK, which has already attracted vociferous criticism in the US, is regarded by many as a voyeuristic intrusion of privacy. But the invasion of personal privacy is nothing compared to threat this service poses to the national security of the United Kingdom,' said Tamar Beck, Group Event Director, Infosecurity Europe.

'I find it deeply disturbing that critical sites such as police stations and army facilities are accessible on the service, thus posing a serious threat to national security, since terrorists now have the electronic equivalent of a dummies' guide to 25 of the UK's major cities,' she added.

According to Tamar Beck, whilst Google Maps' satellite view option has previously provided some degree of information to would-be terrorists on the Internet, the viewing angles are sufficiently limited to be of little use to a potential terrorist.

With Google Street View, she says, all the limitations go out of the window, giving terrorists instant - and anonymous - access to major UK cities on a street-by-street basis, where they can pick and choose terror targets from their training camps in Afghanistan, Iran and other volatile areas of the world.

It is to be hoped, she went on to say, that the UK Authorities take action to opt sites such as police stations and army barracks out of the Street View service, so as to make life more difficult for anyone involved with threats to UK national security.

'Not only is Street View a gross invasion of privacy, it's also a major threat to national security. This is something that will be a hot topic at next's months Infosecurity Europe event,' she said.

'The world has changed immeasurably due to the Internet and not the changes it engenders are positive. The next few weeks and months could be crucial in the way the Google's UK Street View service evolves,' she added.
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