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A New Earth: Satellite Spying from the Sky from Google

by SpywareGuide Staff

Date: 07.03.2005

Keyhole is now Google Earth. Google Earth combines satellite imagery, maps and the power of Google Search to put the world's geographic information at your fingertips.

Think of Google Earth as a globe that sits on your PC and lets you spy on any region you wish. The user can point and zoom to any place on the planet they want to explore. Satellite images and local facts zoom into view at the touch of a button. Using the tool you can see, in great detail, local points of interest and facts or zoom to a specific address to check out an apartment or hotel.

The new tools are indeed powerful, so powerful that you have to wonder what negative implications it might harbour. For example, I tried it on my own home address and was astounded to see my house, driveway and even every single tree in my front and back yard. Out of curiosity, I took a brief walk around my property and performed a tree count to see just how accurate the tool was. I was astounded to see that indeed Google Earth managed to pinpoint every single tree! I applaud them for accuracy. However, I have to wonder about the lack of privacy for normal citizens. The digital world continues to create tools that erode personal privacy. While the tool is a benign technology, it is all in how it is used.

What does this have to do with spying? While addresses and information are public knowledge the ability to zero-in on any physical address and do a survey of the surrounding topography has potential privacy implications. One has to wonder if the Google Earth too, as powerful as it is, might be misused. Could Google Earth be used by social engineers? Worse yet could it even be used by criminals or thieves who want to safely case a property from a distance?

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Google Earth comes in three different flavors from a free version (Google Earth) as well as Plus version and a Pro version.

Google Earth

Google Earth puts a planet's worth of imagery and other geographic information right on your desktop. View exotic locales like Maui and Paris as well as points of interest such as local restaurants, hospitals, schools, and more. You can obtain the free version in a Google Pack.

 


Google Earth Plus

Google Earth Plus is an optional upgrade adding GPS device support, the ability to import spreadsheets, drawing tools and better printing.

Google Earth Pro

Google Earth Pro is designed for professional and commercial uses, Google Earth Pro is the ultimate research, presentation and collaboration tool for location information.

In addition Google Earth Enterprise Solutions are also available for on-site deployment of custom Google Earth databases in the enterprise.

Minimum configuration:

  • Operating system: Windows 2000, Windows XP
  • CPU speed: Intel? Pentium? PIII 500 MHz
  • System memory (RAM): 128MB
  • 200MB hard-disk space
  • 3D graphics card: 3D-capable video card with 16MB VRAM
  • 1024x768, 32-bit true color screen
  • Network speed: 128 kbps ("Broadband/Cable Internet")

Recommended configuration:

  • Operating system: Windows XP
  • CPU speed: Intel? Pentium? P4 2.4GHz+ or AMD 2400xp+
  • System memory (RAM): 512MB
  • 2GB hard-disk space
  • 3D graphics card: 3D-capable video card with 32MB VRAM or greater
  • 1280x1024, 32-bit true color screen
  • Network speed: 128 kbps ("Broadband/Cable Internet")

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