Google Earth to address Indian security concerns

Google is in talks with the Indian government to allay concerns that Google Earth may be jeopardizing India’s security by showing high resolution images of Indian defense and other installations.

“We were pleased to have the dialogue, which was substantive and constructive but no agreements have been made,” a spokeswoman for Google India said Monday.

A Sunday report in The Times of India said that Google and the Indian government had arrived at an agreement to show “fuzzy, low resolution pictures and distorted building plans” of installations that the Indian government considers sensitive.

The Indian government has often expressed concern that the information provided on Google Earth could be misused by terrorists and India’s enemies. The easy availability online of detailed maps of countries from services such as Google Earth can be misused by terrorists, India’s President, A.P.J. Abdul Kalam said as early as 2005.

Some of the developing countries, which are already in danger of terrorist attacks, have been singularly chosen to provide such high resolutions maps, Kalam said.

Internet companies like Google and Yahoo are strengthening their presence in India ahead of an anticipated boom in online users in the country. Google offers search in Indian languages, and recently launched its Google AdWords advertising program in the country. It also does research and development (R&D) from India.

Google’s Orkut social networking site has however come in for criticism and even litigation from groups in India that have objected to criticism on Orkut of India and Indian historic figures.

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