Apple’s new Maps app that’s coming to iOS 6 looks really incredible. Its detailed 3D maps blow the traditional satellite view right out of the water, and allow you to view high resolution images of cities like San Francisco, Chicago, Las Vegas, and more. But what happens when those detailed images get into the wrong hands.
Well, U.S. Senator for New York, Charles E. Schumer, is worried the detailed images could be used to aid criminals and terrorists, and he has privacy concerns over the military-grade spy planes Apple uses to capture these images.
Senator Schumer detailed his concerns in a letter to Apple and Google — which uses the same “spy planes” to capture its mapping images — earlier this week. A press release was also published on the Senator’s website, which read:
New Apple and Google plans to use military-grade spy planes to map communities and publish images could cause unprecedented invasion of privacy; technology strong enough to see through windows and even catch sun bathers in back yards.
Reports indicate that Apple and Google are now using planes equipped with military-grade filming technology powerful enough to capture images of objects as small as four inches; companies provide little to no disclosure to communities when mapping occurs and don’t provide opportunities to opt-out of plan.
In his letter to Google, Senator Schumer wrote:
I fear that this clarity may allow your mapping programs to take detailed pictures of people in intimate locations such as around a pool or in someone’s backyard.
Detailed photographs could also provide criminals and terrorists with detailed views of sensitive utilities.
To solve these issues, Senator Schumer wants both Apple and Google to provide communities with a notice when they plan to capture their mapping images, and allow them to “opt-out” of having their property pictured. It also wants them to ensure sensitive structures are blurred out of the maps that are published.
Neither company has responded to the request yet, but it is believed that some privacy measures will be introduced. Whether that means we’ll see blurry maps and black spots where houses used to be remains to be seen.