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Taiwan Asks Google To Blur Its Military Facilities In South China Sea (nbcnews.com) 52

An anonymous reader quotes a report from Reuters: Taiwan's defense ministry said on Wednesday it is asking Google to blur satellite images showing what experts say appear to be new military installations on Itu Aba, Taipei's sole holding in the disputed South China Sea. The revelation of new military-related construction could raise tensions in the contested waterway, where China's building of airstrips and other facilities has worried other claimants and the United States. The images seen on Google Earth show four three-pronged structures sitting in a semi-circle just off the northwestern shoreline of Itu Aba, across from an upgraded airstrip and recently constructed port that can dock 3,000-ton frigates. "Under the pre-condition of protecting military secrets and security, we have requested Google blur images of important military facilities," Taiwan Defense Ministry spokesman Chen Chung-chi said on Wednesday, after local media published the images on Itu Aba. The United States has urged against the militarization of the South China Sea, following the rapid land reclamation by China on several disputed reefs through dredging, and building air fields and port facilities. Defense experts in Taiwan said that based on the imagery of the structures and their semi-circular layout, the structures were likely related to defense and could be part of an artillery foundation.
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Taiwan Asks Google To Blur Its Military Facilities In South China Sea

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  • by CMYKjunkie ( 1594319 ) on Thursday September 22, 2016 @06:51PM (#52942601)
    How is this article not tagged "Streisand Effect"???
    • by Anonymous Coward

      Maybe. Just maybe. Maybe the Taiwan military aren't the stupidest people on the face of the earth. Maybe they are thinking they'd like to be able to do things on their bases in the FUTURE that they don't want publicly visible.

  • Stupid (Score:5, Insightful)

    by hackwrench ( 573697 ) <hackwrench@hotmail.com> on Thursday September 22, 2016 @06:52PM (#52942605) Homepage Journal
    Taiwan actually believes that China relies on Google Maps for its military intel?
    • Re:Stupid (Score:4, Informative)

      by smooth wombat ( 796938 ) on Thursday September 22, 2016 @07:15PM (#52942761) Journal

      Same thing with Israel. They believe that by having Google blur images of their Dimona nuclear plant or where their nuclear weapons are stored that somehow no one will be able to find them.

      • Same thing with Israel. They believe that by having Google blur images of their Dimona nuclear plant or where their nuclear weapons are stored that somehow no one will be able to find them.

        It's not about Israel trying to hide the site... They are trying to protect it from the locals who wish them harm and would revel at the chance to attack said site successfully on foot, where a detailed aerial view would be invaluable to the planning, preparation and execution of such an attack. Having such information readily available from Google just makes it that much easier for the rag tag group of Palestinians representing Hamas (or even Israel's neighbor states who don't have ready access to equipme

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by bobbied ( 2522392 )

      Taiwan actually believes that China relies on Google Maps for its military intel?

      Well, likely they just want to make it harder for the less well equipped terrorist who doesn't own the billions of dollars worth of hardware required to take the photos themselves from getting them? Plus, it actually would make it more difficult for China, who, instead of hitting up Google might actually have to take the images themselves to see what they think they need to see...

      So, I understand why they are asking... And I don't think they are under any illusions about how much of an advantage they are

    • I think it's more likely they want to make it harder for media and watchdog organizations to report on their activities.

  • China has its own satellites.

  • China will blur them for you ... via missiles

  • by zenlessyank ( 748553 ) on Thursday September 22, 2016 @07:21PM (#52942789)

    End Of Discussion.

    • End Of Discussion.

      Seriously? I can think of a LOT of places where a little be a blurring might be a good thing, helping to keep likely terrorist targets a bit less exposed and remove a cost and risk free means of surveillance in places you'd rather keep the public's nose out of for their own safety. Nuclear power plants for example, you need to keep those things pretty secure given what's at risk and handing out maps to terrorists might not be a good idea. Same with other industrial areas, where the risks to the public is

      • I'm not hungry at the moment, thanks though. I'm an all or nothing kind of guy. Either we ALL can see it or its all bullshit.

      • Not very substantial food for thought. All of those things are easy to think of and easy to dismiss with the notion that security through obscurity is really no security at all. If these places are designed in such a way that blurring out aerial photos of them provides any degree of additional security, then these places aren't secure.
        • Exactamundo.. The whole thing is moot. If one person or entity can see it then any person should be able to see it. That is the surface of the Earth, not what is in my shorts for you witty bastards.

        • Not very substantial food for thought. All of those things are easy to think of and easy to dismiss with the notion that security through obscurity is really no security at all. If these places are designed in such a way that blurring out aerial photos of them provides any degree of additional security, then these places aren't secure.

          Right... Let's just say I think your understanding of this issue fails. It is obvious that there is a degree of security that obscurity brings.

          However, you set up a straw man here. Nobody is claiming that obscurity provides *all* the security, only that it enhances the security they have. They are not dependent on obscurity, they only enhance security using it. It's the same reason armies use camouflage on their uniforms and the air forces of the world paint their fighters grey. Camouflage doesn't st

      • by AHuxley ( 892839 )
        The problem with that is city growth, access for smart staff to nice, safe neighbourhoods usually takes over from a sealed off, remote site.
        Most nations try to counter that with a 1980's version of the East German boarder in depth around a site.
        Everyone allowed near the area is passed as been loyal. Any new faces, cars, passengers get databased. With photographic records of all tourists, students, academics, diplomats, sympathisers, strangers around sensitive sites kept, interesting people are quickly t
    • Tell that to those Japanese censors!
  • by Macdude ( 23507 ) on Friday September 23, 2016 @01:16AM (#52944487)

    This move helps Taiwan's enemies. Forget about all that expensive intelligence gathering, all they have to do is target the blurry areas...

    • Any halfway decent intelligence service will know where enemy installations are. The blurring doesn't hide the fact that they're there, it stops people from getting a detailed map of the installation.

  • Kind of a waste of time.

    Mind you, that game is NSA, so I suppose it's ok, but they can crowdsource the images Pokefans post on social media.

  • Wang said given the structures' location which faces the main seaborne traffic, they may relate to surveillance.

    I'm not sure which is more logical - the North Korea method of 'show what ya got with a bit of enlargement and flare' with clear public view to show off, or the Taiwanese method of showing you're building something with clear coordinates and pre-fabs already made, with a request to "hide" it from the enemies.

    Um. An enemy knows where it is and can pinpoint it now, or just sent a few low orbit observation drones over it to have a look once/week.

    This must be a distraction and nothing more. It's probably noth

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