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Google removes military buildings from Street View

Disclosing locations could help terrorist attacks

Google has removed images of a number of military buildings from its Street View service.

Street View is an add-on to Google Maps and Google Earth that allows users to see street-level photographs of a number of cities.

The images are captured by specially adapted Google Street View cars that travel the UK taking photographs.


The service initially launched in March last year, covering 25 cities. However, it was expanded earlier this month to cover around 95 percent of the country.

The headquarters of the Special Boat Service and Special Air Service along with an atomic weapons research centre and an MI5 building are thought to be among the sites that were photographed by the search engine.

However, if Google uses the images in its Street View service, it could be in breach of the Official Secrets Act.

Meanwhile, there are concerns that disclosing the location of these buildings could help terrorists launch an attack on the sites.

"Google Street View is only made up of images from public roads and so it's to be expected that buildings that anyone can see walking down the street may appear," Google said.

"Our drivers are trained not to take photographs where this is prohibited by law, but if mistakes are made we will act quickly to remove the images."

Google said it was unaware of any official security concerns being raised but was happy to discuss any issues that arise.

"We also provide an easily accessible 'report a problem' tool on Street View that allows members of the public to ask for their house or their car to be removed from the service if they like."

See also: Google adds Street View 'edit location' function


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