Hindustan Times article on India expert group

Laurent of lastingnews.com points to an interesting article in the Hindustan Times, Ganging up against Google, about the expert group the Indian government has convened to see if and how it should try to pressure Google into degrading the resolution of imagery of India in Google Earth.

What’s interesting is that the article gets two opposing points of view on the matter. One person, the surveyor-general of India, Major-General Gopal Rao, seems to believe what he reads in India’s more jingoistic press:

Rao told the Hindustan Times that the government could ask the US-headquartered company to reduce the resolution of images of sensitive locations or even blur the details. “This is something that’s technically feasible, something that Google has done for the US government,” said Rao.

Google has never reduced the resolution of Google Earth images, not “for the US government” nor for anyone else, and media reports that this is the case are due to the fact that reporters do not understand how Google Earth acquires its data. Every update of the data has brought increases in resolution, not reductions.

The other interviewed person is far more sanguine and aware of the broader issues, it appears:

V.S. Ramamurthy, secretary, Science and Technology Department, was non-committal. He said the expert group would look into all related issues. […] “The group will also study what other countries have done,” said Ramamurthy.

And if the group does that, it will see that other countries have done precisely nothing — not Australia, not the Netherlands, not the US, not Israel, not Korea, not China (as per this comment), not Pakistan, not Thailand and not Russia.