So Long, And Thanks, Google Earth, For All The Fish - InformationWeek

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6/29/2009
06:45 PM
Thomas Claburn
Thomas Claburn
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So Long, And Thanks, Google Earth, For All The Fish

In the latest installment of what appears to an ongoing series in the technology press, criminals are using technology to commit crimes.

In the latest installment of what appears to an ongoing series in the technology press, criminals are using technology to commit crimes.Yes, it's shocking, I know. You'd think that criminals would, like the Amish, avoid technology. But Google Earth has proven to be too useful to ignore.

The Telegraph in the U.K. reports that a dozen exotic koi carp and assorted pieces of pond equipment have disappeared from various ponds in the East Yorkshire region over the past three weeks.

A local police official believes that the carp kidnappers are users of Google Earth because Google's detailed satellite photos reveal the locations of backyard ponds. That may be the case, but no proof of that claim is offered in the Telegraph article, which discounts the possibility that the carp thief acquired his or her knowledge by other means.

Perhaps no proof is necessary since Google Earth's role as a tool of theft is well established. In March, The Telegraph reported on another misuse of Google Earth: a 27-year-old named Tom Berge stole £100,000 (about $141,000) worth of lead from the roofs of buildings after identifying the structures using Google Earth.

But technology can also help do good: A few months ago, a teenager in the Netherlands was able to identify two brothers who had mugged him six months earlier through a Street View image. And that's to say nothing of the millions of users of Google Earth and Google Maps who use the technology for innocent navigation every day.

Maybe it's time that we learned to stop worrying and love mapping technology.

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