Friday, May 27, 2011

Google Street View will aid cross border terrorism in India

Google launched its Street View program in Bangalore, India. According to Google “Street View in Google Maps lets you explore places through 360-degree street-level imagery.” As a technology user, I am excited at the convenience that such a service brings.
On the hand when I throw my security hat on, I am of the opinion that this service may do more harm than good.  India has been prone to terror attacks planned and coordinated from across our borders.  In most of these attacks sites are identified by planting an agent who uses on ground reconnaissance to capture images and video’s, which are later analyzed across the border, where mock set-ups are created, drills run and attacks planned.
Street View’s will further enhance the choice of target selection. While previously a target could be chosen only because it was well published as a place of interest, now secondary targets can easily be identified by scouring street views. This enables wider coverage for target selection undertaken by enemy military or military trained terrorists without stepping foot on Indian soil. Further reconnaissance will still be with ground support, but the advantage in target identification and location assessment will be with the terrorists.
I therefore am of the sad conclusion that these services for the moment are not desirable for India. The startling revelations of David Headley in the US courts on how the Mumbai 26/11 attacks were planned are eye openers.

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