Pentagon Did NOT Ban Google Earth
The Pentagon did NOT ban Google Earth! This is just to clarify the many erroneous news and blog reports which started circulating yesterday. The stories were based on an AP report that came out which actually involved Google's Street View photos.
The story is kind of amusing. As most of you know, Google has been driving cars around with special video cameras which take panoramic photos which are then placed in Google Maps. The intent is to help you get a look at places and get a feel for your surroundings before you go. The service is called Street View and was first released last May.
One of the Google drivers of a Street View car drove up to Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio, TX and asked for permission to go on the base to do his work - and the request was granted. Then, the photos appeared in Street View until some military personnel noticed and realized it probably isn't a good idea to have photos of a military base shared with the world. The photos could show locations of guards, barricades, and other sensitive information. The Pentagon contacted Google and requested they take the photos down, which Google did immediately within 24 hours. Google also said it was against their policy for their drivers to go to restricted areas. The Pentagon sent a message to all bases telling them to not allow such crews with big cameras on the top to drive all over the base taking pictures. Duh.