One U.S. Senator Is Worried Apple’s Detailed 3D Maps Will Aid Criminals & Terrorists

One U.S. Senator Is Worried Apple’s Detailed 3D Maps Will Aid Criminals & Terrorists

These detailed images could be blurred in places if one U.S. Senator has his way.

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.

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  • Hiram21Mason

    What’s the difference between this and the 3D images of Google Earth or Nokia Maps? Those have been out for a while and nobody in Congress complained about them…

  • Sean Murphy

    These guys need to just STFU!!!

    Should we ban cars and cell phones also?
    Im not sure, but I think criminals and terrorists use these tool s also.
    OH, OH, OH, and computers!!! we need to ban those as well……..books?
  • OMFGitsJUSTIN

    I couldn’t help but chuckle at the whole “sunbathers” and “cameras powerful enough to capture images of objects as small as four inches” 


    Oh the powers of word choice and placement hahahaha. 
  • CollinsAlissa

    just as Sharon replied I’m amazed that anybody able to earn $4297 in a few weeks on the computer. did you read this site(Click on menu Home more information)   http://goo.gl/IzzDJ


  • Dave Brink

    This is the same senator who voted aye a few months ago for a bill opening the way for up to 30,000 drones in US airspace by 2020.

    He’s probably just mad that non-government “spy planes” aren’t part of the no-fly rule over his house.

  • joewaylo

    Apple and Google just need to ban “non-USA” regions if the senator is that worried. It’s simple logic Senator Schumer. If you’re accessing maps of the USA and you’re from anywhere outside of USA, ban them from 3D map reading.

    Street View is more of a concern as people have their privacy invaded by these automated vehicles taking pictures of their homes, or dare I say it, caught in the act moments (ie sex on the beach).

  • joewaylo

    Apple and Google just need to ban “non-USA” regions if the senator is that worried. It’s simple logic Senator Schumer. If you’re accessing maps of the USA and you’re from anywhere outside of USA, ban them from 3D map reading.

    Street View is more of a concern as people have their privacy invaded by these automated vehicles taking pictures of their homes, or dare I say it, caught in the act moments (ie sex on the beach).

  • John Neumann

    Joewaylo, if you are having sex on a beach, I would tend to think you are not concerned much with privacy.

    That being said, will this dumb senator ban visiting public places in person next? You know, because . . . Jesus! America! Pedophiles! Terrorists!

  • mynamesdanhoy

    people come up with such bs about their privacy, unless its use to harm you, just quick bitching. who cares if others see your house, ohh god! my house, what the FUCK does it matter? seeriously, take the stick out of your anus. they blur your face, license plates, and thats perfect. everything else is something that ANYBODY could see if they walk on that street in real life. my god people chill out just keep it real

  • Patrick M Phillips

    These guys need to just STFU!!!

    Should we ban cars and cell phones also?
    Im not sure, but I think criminals and terrorists use these tool s also.
    OH, OH, OH, and computers!!! we need to ban those as well……..books?

    The most fearful terrorists of all work in the putrid marble halls of that shithole of a city called Washington DC.

  • warrengonline

    Ha ha.. So, it was okay when THEY were doing it? Hmm, I find that humorous. I laughed at google maps when I traveled virtually back home. It had my sister (her face blurred out) walking to the mailbox. It was funny. What I have wondered, WHY hasn’t anyone start making message on their houses or in their backyards you can read from the air or space? ;)

  • SkolVikes88

    What do you expect – Congress still plays Solitaire on their Win95 Dells…

  • ctt1wbw

    Two words, both meaning JACK ASS: Chuckie and Schumer.

About the author

Killian BellKillian Bell is a staff writer based in the U.K. He has an interest in all things tech and also covers Android over at CultofAndroid.com. You can follow him on Twitter via @killianbell.

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