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Indian court urged to 'ban Google Earth'

Aided Mumbai attacks

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Legal advocates have petitioned an Indian court to ban Google Earth following intelligence indicating the satellite imaging site was used to plan last month's terrorist attacks in Mumbai that killed 170 people.

Advocate Amit Karkhanis told India's High Court the free service "aids terrorists in plotting attacks" by providing detailed images used to acquaint radical militants with their targets. He asked that Google blur images of sensitive areas in the country while the case proceeds.

It's by no means the first time government authorities with a world power have taken aim at the popular satellite imaging service. Earlier this year, the US Department of Defense banned Google from capturing Streetview images of military facilities after discovering 360-degree views inside a base located in Texas. Not to be outdone, the British military jumped on the anti Google Earth bandwagon, forcing the site to remove images of military bases in Basra, Iraq. Australia and South Korea, among others, have also gotten in on the action.

But in those cases, the calls were mostly to blur or censor specific images of sensitive areas. If articles penned by The Times (of London), UPI, and others are accurate, India's request goes much further by requesting Google Earth be banned outright.

As The Times points out, investigators believe the gunmen who stormed Mumbai in late November used a wide array of high-tech gizmos to carry out their assault, including GPS systems to navigate by sea, mobile phones with multiple SIM cards, and possibly Blackberry web browsers to monitor events as they unfolded. No word yet if the government will call for a ban of those services, too. ®

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