Once again, advances in technology have been misused by a few people, and the technology is being blamed for it… Google Earth was used by terrorists, to study the detailed layout of the places, which they had planned to attack, in the city of Mumbai.
On the night of November 26, ten well trained, motivated and heavily armed terrorists landed in Mumbai by boat and went on a killing spree, in and around some of the extremely well known and crowded places in the Southern part of the city, creating mayhem and killing over 170 people over the next 60 hours.
A lawyer, Amit Karkhanis has now filed a public interest litigation in the Bombay High Court, against Google, because it is believed that the terrorists used maps provided on Google Earth to study their targets. He has demanded that Google should be made to block images of sensitive places in the country.
Google has issued a statement condemning the attacks and said that they “stand by the citizens of India and the city of Mumbai as they recover from the attacks.”
They however defend themselves saying, that theirs is not the only source from which such information could be made available. It is easily available to anyone who is willing to pay for the purchase of these images from public or commercial sources.
They also believe that advantages of easy access to such tools and technology are far greater than their potential misuse by a few misguided minds.
This certainly seems like a genuine argument, as the same Google Earth has been used in the past to coordinate relief operations in times of floods, cyclones etc.
It is also obvious, that those involved would have found some other means to achieve their devious objectives, even if Google Earth had not been available to them.
One must also bear in mind, that apart from making use of Google Earth, they also made use of other technological facilities such as, satellite phones, cell phones and internet phones to stay in touch with each other and their bosses during the course of their operation.
As the saying goes, ‘there are two sides to every coin’. So also, all forms of technological advances can be abused when in the wrong hands.
Does that mean, that we must decide to ban any further technological advances in the future?