Hobble Google Earth, stop a terrorist

Stunned by reports that the Mumbai terrorists used Google Earth to scope out targets, AppScout says a California lawmaker is seeking to have all such mapping programs blot out any location that could possibly be of interest to terrorists--including schools, places of worship, and government or medical buildings--or be subject to a fine and even arrest. Right. The problem isn't terrorists and their crazy plans to wreak havoc. The real problem is Google Earth and other mapping tools.

Republican Assemblyman Joel Anderson seems to believe that without Google Earth to show them the way, terrorists would be unable to plan or carry out attacks. Terrorists couldn't possibly have the wherewithal to procure a paper-based tourist map or to scout locations in person. Without Google Earth, they'd be stuck just wondering where to go, what everything looked like--and they'd immediately put a stop to all their sordid plans. As Anderson says:

"All I'm trying to do is stop terrorists. I don't want California to be helping map out future targets for terrorists."

And it's not as if anyone actually needs to see all those locales in Google Earth and StreetView. No need to see exactly where your child's preschool is located or how to get to that new church on Sunday. Safety programs like this require sacrifice from patriotic Americans, and spending a few extra minutes trying to get to your next appointment is a sacred duty, especially if it stops terrorists in their tracks (or at least delays them by 10 minutes or so).

But Anderson is right. In this time of worldwide economic stability, the first place legislators in California should be focusing their efforts is on thwarting terrorists by making Google Earth less useful for everybody. Good plan.

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