Media Watch: Reuters on US general on Google Earth

A Reuters story titled U.S. general laments Google Earth capability that received a fair bit of exposure, including in India, begins thus:

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The head of U.S. Air Force intelligence and surveillance on Thursday said data available commercially through online mapping software such as Google Earth posed a danger to security but could not be rolled back.

Except that this is not at all what his quote maintains in the following paragraph:

“To talk about danger is, if I may, really is irrelevant because it’s there,” said Lt. Gen. David Deptula, deputy chief of staff for intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance.

“No one’s going to undo commercial satellite imagery,” he told reporters in Washington.

Nor do we get any kind of context as to how and where the general is interviewed. So here is my take: General Deptula gets doorstopped on his way to a conference by a journalist intending to get criticism of Google Earth from the defense establishment. The general responds (correctly) that satellite imagery is a fact of life, just like paper maps, and that the correct response is camouflage, concealment and deception.

Somehow, the “irrelevance” of asking about the dangers of Google Earth turns into a “lament” about said dangers. I think that most implausible.

One thought on “Media Watch: Reuters on US general on Google Earth”

  1. The thing that kills me, is that any questions and comments regarding online mapping appears to always be focused on Google’s products.

    Why is this, do you think? What about asking a generalized question, such as, “What do you think about online mapping applications, such as Google Earth, Microsoft Virtual Earth (or Live Local, or whatever they’re calling it now), or Yahoo! Maps?”

    I think then, I wouldn’t take such offense to any of the misguided comments that are being thrown around out there — by several, including government agencies.

    On the upside. If it’s a sign that Google Earth is focused on purely because it is the leader in the popularity — then that is justifiably sound in reasoning that Google Earth will continue to dominate the market based solely on psychology. (As the saying goes — there’s really no such thing as bad publicity.)

Comments are closed.