Google creates security breach (SAS)


Verified Military
Dec 8, 2009

Military chiefs and MPs blasted internet giant Google today after its Street View service included detailed pictures of the headquarters of the SAS.

Internet users can peer around the entrance to Credenhill, Herefordshire, which has never before appeared on maps for security reasons.

The base is even marked as 'British SAS' on the website and offers users a detailed 180 degree view of the perimeter boundary.

MPs and military top brass have demanded Google removes the pictures, claiming it makes the SAS a target for terrorist attacks.

Google Street View captured detailed images of the SAS base in Hereford

Lib Dem Hereford MP Paul Keetch said: 'The footage is simply not acceptable during a time of perceived terrorism.

'There needs to be a certain degree of restraint shown by people like Google.

'I wouldn't want a terrorist to be inspired by these pictures and it would be appalling if any help at all was given to our enemies.

'We all know where the Palace of Westminister is, we all know where the SAS camp is, but the issue is if you're going into such detail in such a way that you can undermine the security of that building, that could be a problem.'

An Army insider added: 'Military chiefs have had concerns with Google Street View for some time.

'It is highly irresponsible for military bases, especially special forces, to be pictured on the internet.

'Google claims it blurs faces and number plates to avoid people being identified but one mistake could be very dangerous weapon for a terrorist.

'The question is, why risk a very serious security breach for the sake of having a picture on a website?'

Residents living near the base also expressed shock at the pictures.

One man, who did not want to be named but has links with the base, said: 'The SAS conducts operations where secrecy is absolutely vital to their success.

'It beggars belief that the base has been made vulnerable by having such detailed pictures published on the internet.

'Terrorists could potentially use their home computers to plot an attack capable of dire consequences on the base. That's frightening.'

The images - all taken within the last six months - show a military ambulance and a police car at the gates of the base along with three guards.

Separate satellite pictures on Google Earth also show the layout of the buildings and even makes and models of cars in the car park.

The MoD has never made the exact details of the base public but the location of the nearest village is available online.

Google yesterday defended the pictures and said they had no plans to take them off their site.

Spokeswoman Laura Scott said: 'One in five people already use Google Street View for house hunting and the scheme has previously launched in 20 countries without any breach of security issues.

'Google only takes images from public roads and this is no different to what anyone could see travelling down the road themselves, therefore there is no appreciable security risk.

'We're happy to discuss any concerns as they arise.'

An MoD spokesman said: 'We never confirm where any of our special forces are based.'

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This is just unacceptable...
I hate streetview, I think it's a useless novelty and this is just another example of Google's ignorance wrt to filming and publishing these images on the 'net. They are still backtracking and fixing the images from up here in Canada to meet the demands of the out of court settlement; otherwise the Canadian Gov't is taking them into court over it.
I take the point regarding considerable risk in getting the required pix, but someone did it and went undetected. :doh:
'Google only takes images from public roads and this is no different to what anyone could see travelling down the road themselves, therefore there is no appreciable security risk.

Right... reconnaisance is never part of terrorist attack planning. We should just go ahead and do that for them.
'We're happy to discuss any concerns as they arise.'

Yep; we'll take the shots down AFTER the attack.
I think Google should have a mechanism for removing certain secure locations. If not from the perspective of doing the right thing, at least they should do it from a legal perspective. If some secure location on there website gets attacked and the bad guys have a history of researching there target on Google's website they are gonna get there asses sued big-time and why put your company in that position.

While I don't think that the pictures are particularly damaging to the security of the installation. I would be more worried about the easy of locating the address of the base and the unit itself. Either way anything that makes the bad guys job easier is a problem.
Streetview was extremely handy when I was doing bail enforcement. Being able to do a pre-brief showing the building we were heading to on 3 sides to identify possible points we would need to contain rapidly made a world of difference in a number of situations.

But then again, that's what... Intelligence for doing an operations order for a mission...

So yeah. Keep valuable assets off of it. My house isn't on streetview, but I live on a dirt road and shoot at strangers...