India concerned about Google Maps

Indian president says the service's detailed maps can be misused by terrorists

The easy availability online of detailed maps of countries from services such as Google Earth can be misused by terrorists, according to Indian President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam.

Some developing countries, which are already in danger of terrorist attacks, have been singularly chosen for the display of high-resolutions maps, Kalam said in a lecture Saturday at the National Police Academy in Hyderabad in south India.

Current laws that govern spatial observations over territory, and U.N. recommendations about the display of spatial observations, were not adequate, said Kalam who asked the audience to discuss these issues and come up with possible solutions for the Indian government.

An Indian newspaper, The Times of India, reported Monday that the country's ministry of science and technology and other defense and security agencies were evaluating the images available on Google Earth. The newspaper quoted an official in the ministry of science and technology as saying that the high resolution of satellite images on Google Earth posed a security threat to installations in the country.

Google Earth from Google Inc. in Mountain View, California, has images of India's Parliament House, the President's residence Rashtrapati Bhavan and surrounding government offices in Delhi. There are also some shots of defense establishments in various parts of the country.

India has been a frequent target of terrorist attacks by separatist groups in Kashmir that demand independence from the country. Parliament House was attacked by terrorists in 2001.