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  • Google Street View security question

    Google has launched Street View, which pairs its Google Maps service with high-detail photos taken of facilities/buildings/homes on city streets. The service launched in San Francisco, Miami, New York, Las Vegas and Denver and the detail in these photos is surprisingly remarkable (you can zoom, tilt and pan). To check it out visit http://maps.google.com/ and search one of those five cities, and once you're in the city, click the Street View tab/link.

    I'm wondering if anyone else thinks this can be a bit of a security hazard that these photos (which are fully legal because they were taken on a public street) show details like parking lots, doors, even where your surveillance cameras are. From a casing the joint perspective, I think it might be used by potential criminals or terrorists as a surveillance tool. FWIW, Google isn't the only one doing this online.

    What do you think? Potential security problem or not?

    Geoff
    SecurityInfoWatch.com

  • #2
    Interesting. I was just able to look into the lobby of my old office building at 47th & 7th in NYC. I think this will become an issue. It's been on the news for the past few days in Philadelphia.
    Retail Security Consultant / Expert Witness
    Co-Author - Effective Security Management 6th Edition

    Contributor to Retail Crime, Security and Loss Prevention: An Encyclopedic Reference

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    • #3
      I completely agree with your concerns. Although it is legal. Information is key, not only to LE and Security, but also to the ones that want to harm us. Being able to completely check out a perspective target online is another reason that we all need to stay observant of our surroundings. I'm sure there will be alot of backlash about this towards Google and others. Google should have put the training camps in New Jersey, Upstate NY, and other places on there so we can see exactly whats going on with our enemies instead of letting our enemies know us better. Thats my 2 cents.

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      • #4
        This is a great example of why it's important to not be complacent in your security measures. Remember, Google only takes new photos every few years, they are not live feeds.

        If you find your building, see how you would break into it, and adjust your measures accordingly. I highly doubt that this will become a true security issue, as viligant guards will see them coming anyway.
        Anything that hits the fan,
        Will not be evenly distributed.

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        • #5
          Geoff this is handing those who would do us harm valuable information on a silver platter. New York's JFK International had surveillance done of its tank farms. Why do it on your own when a treasure trove of information is available from the Internet.
          I would hope Google's ardor is dampened when they find out what harm they might perpetuate.
          Curtis your comments are indeed apropos. Good job everyone, home and tea!
          Enjoy the day,
          Bill

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          • #6
            Keep in mind that Keyhole, the company that Google bought for Google Maps and Google Earth, had a version for homeland security called Keyhole for Public Safety.

            Google retains this using Keyhole for Homeland Security, which allows GPS and GIS overlays.

            Personally, I don't really see a problem with this, as the intelligence is so outdated as to be nearly useless.
            Some Kind of Commando Leader

            "Every time I see another crazy Florida post, I'm glad I don't work there." ~ Minneapolis Security on Florida Security Law

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            • #7
              Originally posted by N. A. Corbier View Post
              Personally, I don't really see a problem with this, as the intelligence is so outdated as to be nearly useless.
              Because the information may be a couple years old does not mean it could not be valuable to those bent on harm. I.E. parking garage layout, office building exterior intelegence, etc..

              The cars and paint may have changed but the structure would remain virtually unchanged in most cases.

              The JFK situation is a good example of using "public" information for harm.

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              • #8
                If I'm a terrorist I sure wouldnt want to trust outdated information. Layouts do change.

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                • #9
                  Somthing to be aware of, yes. but has been said it is outdated. I supose a quick recon could determine how outdated the photos are. This would be much quicker and safer then doing a full recon to get the info available on the web. A quick check of Google Earth just showed my Father-in-law's motorhome in my driveway. It hasn't been there since 2002.
                  "Gun control, the theory that 110lb. women have the "right" to fistfight with 210lb. rapists. " Author Unknown

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Andy Taylor View Post
                    Somthing to be aware of, yes. but has been said it is outdated. I supose a quick recon could determine how outdated the photos are. This would be much quicker and safer then doing a full recon to get the info available on the web. A quick check of Google Earth just showed my Father-in-law's motorhome in my driveway. It hasn't been there since 2002.
                    Andy, you put your finger on it! The bad guys keep their exposure down to a bare minimum.
                    Excellent post. A couple of drives past your home would indicate you live there. If you are the target that is all the intelligence they need.
                    Enjoy the day,
                    Bill

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                    • #11
                      I don't think they can see anything from these photos that they couldn't get from taking pictures flying over a target in a plane. Yes, using Google is cheaper than renting a plane but the known terrorists don't seem to be lacking funds.
                      I enforce rules and regulations, not laws.
                      Security Officers. The 1st First Responders.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by HotelSecurity View Post
                        I don't think they can see anything from these photos that they couldn't get from taking pictures flying over a target in a plane. Yes, using Google is cheaper than renting a plane but the known terrorists don't seem to be lacking funds.
                        Take a look at the "street view" version. It a view of the buildings from ground level.
                        Retail Security Consultant / Expert Witness
                        Co-Author - Effective Security Management 6th Edition

                        Contributor to Retail Crime, Security and Loss Prevention: An Encyclopedic Reference

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                        • #13
                          In their July issue Access Controls and Security will be carrying an article on Google Street View.
                          Retail Security Consultant / Expert Witness
                          Co-Author - Effective Security Management 6th Edition

                          Contributor to Retail Crime, Security and Loss Prevention: An Encyclopedic Reference

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                          • #14
                            The idea of the street level shots bug me, I like Google Earth and have used it a few times to point out a specific location on a property. Though some areas are outdated or out of focus, I agree with those here who say it's a good recon tool as it gives a "birds eye view" of their location of interest.

                            From a security standpoint a real catch 22... Good for us as far as protecting properties, also good for the Bad Guy's whatever their motive.
                            I'm the guy you don't want to be around when your doing something wrong, but you can't wait for me to get there when your down, to fix you up...

                            If you don't stand behind our troops, feel free to stand in front of them.

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                            • #15
                              I checked the building I work at. Its so old it doesnt even have the gas station next to the building on it.

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