WASHINGTON -- Citing security risks, the Pentagon banned Google teams from making detailed street-level video maps of U.S. military bases after images of a Texas base ended up on the popular Internet site.Quote has been trimmed
A message sent to all Defense Department bases and installations around the country late last week told officials not to allow the mapping website to take panoramic views inside the facilities. Google said taking such pictures is against its policy and that the incident was a mistake.
Air Force Gen. Gene Renuart, chief of the U.S. Northern Command, said Thursday that that the decision to issue a formal ban was made after at least one Google crew requested and then was permitted access to a base, identified in the message as Fort Sam Houston. He said he was concerned that allowing the 360-degree, street-level view could provide sensitive information to potential adversaries and endanger base personnel.
It's a worry, Renuart said, because such views can show "where all the guards are, it shows how the barriers go up and down, it shows how to get in and out of buildings, and I think that poses a real security risk to our military installations."
Google spokesman Larry Yu said a Google crew mistakenly asked for access to a base.