A member of the California assembly has tabled a bill that would force online mapping companies to blur millions of images in case they aid terrorists.
Joel Anderson, a San Diego Republican, said that the bill would ban street view images and blur satellite pictures of schools, places of worship, government or medical buildings. Failure to do so would incur fines of $250,000 (£176,000) a day, and up to three years in prison.
"All I am trying to do is stop terrorists," Anderson told Associated Press. "I do not want California to be helping map out future targets for terrorists."
Anderson cited the recent terrorist attacks in Mumbai, in which the attackers reportedly used Google Earth images to identify targets and plot access and escape routes.
Similar moves have been discussed before, and certain facilities are already blurred out by companies like Google. These include some nuclear sites, army bases and, until recently, the home of the US vice president.
However, security experts have questioned the value of such moves, pointing out that terrorists have a host of other potential sources of information.
"Criminals have used telephones and mobile phones since they were invented. Drug smugglers use airplanes and boats, radios and satellite phones. Bank robbers have long used cars and motorcycles as getaway vehicles, and horses before then," said security expert Bruce Schneier.
"While terrorism turns society's very infrastructure against itself, we only harm ourselves by dismantling that infrastructure in response, just as we would if we banned cars because bank robbers use them."
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