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Calif. Politican Thinks Blurred Online Maps Would Deter Terrorists 597

Posted by timothy
from the fuzzy-logic-feels-warm-and-soft dept.
Hugh Pickens writes "California Assemblyman Joel Anderson plans to introduce a bill to force Google Earth and similar services to blur images of so-called 'soft targets' like schools, hospitals, churches and government buildings to protect them from terrorists. 'All I'm trying to do is stop terrorists,' said Anderson. 'I don't want California to be helping map out future targets for terrorists.' Concerns that detailed satellite imagery and photographs available on Web services could help terrorists plan attacks are not new, with reports that terrorists have used such imagery to carry out attacks in Iraq and Israel, and an Indian court is considering a ban on Google Earth following reports that its imagery played a part in the Mumbai terrorist attacks."
"Security expert Bruce Schneier recently wondered what other things legislators might consider banning to prevent terrorism: 'Bank robbers have long used cars and motorcycles as getaway vehicles, and horses before then. I haven't seen it talked about yet, but the Mumbai terrorists used boats as well. They also wore boots. They ate lunch at restaurants, drank bottled water and breathed the air,' wrote Schneier. 'Society survives all of this because the good uses of infrastructure far outweigh the bad uses, even though the good uses are — by and large — small and pedestrian and the bad uses are rare and spectacular.'"
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Calif. Politican Thinks Blurred Online Maps Would Deter Terrorists

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  • by Pope (17780) on Wednesday March 04, 2009 @05:16PM (#27069345)

    Ban bottled water, that stuff's a killer!

  • by gnick (1211984) on Wednesday March 04, 2009 @05:17PM (#27069353) Homepage

    If we just blurred all maps, the terrorists couldn't even find their targets!

    • by darkdaedra (1061330) on Wednesday March 04, 2009 @05:26PM (#27069473)
      Agreed. Plus, GPS devices should be outlawed -- terrorists could use them to navigate in lieu of maps. Actually, history books, almanacs, encyclopedias, these all tell terrorists what we care about. Those should be outlawed too. Plus the internet, which allows them to communicate, and possibly phones, the mail system, UPS, FedEx and other courier services. Then maybe we can finally feel safe!
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Tetsujin (103070)

        Agreed. Plus, GPS devices should be outlawed -- terrorists could use them to navigate in lieu of maps.

        Have you heard of "Selective Availability"? You know, the thing where the precision of GPS data is intentionally downgraded to prevent people from doing anything nasty with it?

        I'm just saying, they already thought of this. It's not much of a "hypothetical" point you raise - the US controls the GPS satellites, so there's no need to control GPS receivers.

        • by morcego (260031) on Wednesday March 04, 2009 @08:13PM (#27071647)

          precision of GPS data is intentionally downgraded

          Yeah because, you know, terrorism is all about finesse.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Grishnakh (216268)

          Yep, those terrorist-controlled missiles accurate to 1 meter have really been a problem.

        • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 04, 2009 @10:19PM (#27072915)

          Yeah, because terrorists would never think that it might just be scarier to TAKE OUT THE SATELLITES and thus deprive commerce of it's ability to rely on them to get anywhere.

          I mean seriously how many companies rely on GPS either to make sure workers are doing their jobs, or to get them to their destination? Nevermind governments using them for similiar purposes.

          Now imagine if it went off all at once, say the day before Xmas or some major time when it would be expected that a lot of people depending on it for, say, deliveries suddenly had the 'lights turned out' on them?

          Seriously our society is so dependent on so many things that our best bet is to simply not worry about it and move on. If the terrorists were really as big a threat as the gvmt tried to make out, then they'd have sleepers working to get the classified versions of those blurred maps to plan their targets anyhow. And honestly who has seen that level of organization out of them? If there was, they would've pulled off a much bigger set of acts than one silly set of towers. Why not just go after a half dozen bridges across the US, or a bunch of dams? Or a building in every major cities skyline? I mean each of these would be easy to find, wouldn't need these 'Google Earth' maps, and would have far more of a psychological impact on whichever towns they were done to. Shooting/bombing/gassing a couple of schools? C'mon. Your children have a greater chance of being molested by a teacher than being killed by terrorists at school. Hey, maybe we should ban teachers while we're at it!

          *snicker*

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by FooAtWFU (699187)
            Roadside bombs, airline hijackings, waltzing into a hospital with a machine gun - not exactly rocket science. Taking out satellites, on the other hand....
      • Medieval Stealth (Score:5, Informative)

        by xixax (44677) on Thursday March 05, 2009 @12:33AM (#27073881)

        Agreed. Plus, GPS devices should be outlawed -- terrorists could use them to navigate in lieu of maps. Actually, history books, almanacs, encyclopedias, these all tell terrorists what we care about. Those should be outlawed too. Plus the internet, which allows them to communicate, and possibly phones, the mail system, UPS, FedEx and other courier services. Then maybe we can finally feel safe!

        Maybe the senator should move to Afghanistan and team up with the Taliban. Their ends goals of a meedieval society are remarkably consistent. Maybe that was the Taliban's plan all along!

        Interestingly, be careful taking GPS to China. You need special approval from the government or you get arrested for espionage. Maybe here's a model for California?

        Xix.

      • by Scarletdown (886459) on Thursday March 05, 2009 @02:29AM (#27074415) Journal

        Why not just follow the lead of one particular town right there in California?

        Chico has a law on the books declaring a $500 fine for detonating a nuclear device within the city limits. It apparently has been a decent deterrent, since no nuke has been detonated within Chico, California.

    • by BarryJacobsen (526926) on Wednesday March 04, 2009 @05:29PM (#27069529) Homepage

      If we just blurred all maps, the terrorists couldn't even find their targets!

      You're thinking too small - if we blurred out our name whenever we talk to them - they wouldn't even know who to attack, let alone find them!

    • by Iamthefallen (523816) <Gmail name: Iamthefallen> on Wednesday March 04, 2009 @05:32PM (#27069601) Homepage Journal

      Silly, just blur the terrorist bases and let the problem solve itself.

    • Re:Why stop online? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by wjh31 (1372867) on Wednesday March 04, 2009 @05:59PM (#27070047) Homepage
      I believe in the second world war, the english government had a large number of road signs removed, to help confuse the germans if they ever managed an invasion, the only result was alot of lost brits.
    • Re:Why stop online? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by CrimsonAvenger (580665) on Wednesday March 04, 2009 @06:09PM (#27070181)

      If we just blurred all maps, the terrorists couldn't even find their targets!

      You jest.

      In 1941, maps of the Soviet Union available to Germany showed a major highway going from Moscow to very nearly the border. The Germans planned one axis of their invasion around that highway, since they knew that differing rail guages between the two countries would limit their ability to move supplies from Germany to the front.

      Shame that that highway never actually existed. Maps of the interior of the Soviet Union were generally kept secret, even from their own soldiers, or...inaccurate, shall we say?

      In other words, it's an idea that has worked in the past.

      Won't work here and now, of course. It's not, after all, hard to rent a car and drive past a place to take pictures years before you hit it. Then do the same the week before to bring everything up to date with recent changes.

      In other words, this is yet another stupid idea from a politician who doesn't quite understand that the djinn left the bottle decades ago, and isn't being put back in anytime soon. Certainly not by legislation.

      • Re:Why stop online? (Score:4, Interesting)

        by alexborges (313924) on Wednesday March 04, 2009 @06:26PM (#27070437)

        See now, this is an idea. Seriously.

        In this respect, google earth like services would play a better role in confusing terrorists if the US can figure out from time to time from where does a cell connect.

        In that knowledge, a MITM attack on their google earth could send them to attack an ambushed site.

        Now THATS THINKING.

        Banning maps is NOT THINKING. Thats just being an idiot.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Paracelcus (151056)

        Problem is that the level of intellect that Joel Anderson demonstrates is about the norm for politicians. I'd trust a sharecropper first!

      • by mabhatter654 (561290) on Wednesday March 04, 2009 @06:38PM (#27070597)

        Seriously, stuff like this is what we used to poke fun at the Soviets for back in the good ole' Cold War days when Regan was prez and high schools still had gun target practice as an extra curricular activity. One of the things the US prides itself on is the open and free access to public data and the freedom to publish it. Maps are one of the key centerpieces that we measure our open society by...

        Guy's and idiot and should be forcibly ejected from the country.

      • by cmr-denver (1315039) on Wednesday March 04, 2009 @06:42PM (#27070651)

        That mentality existed through the fall of the Iron Curtain. When I lived in Europe in the 80's, a friend of the family worked in military intelligence (an oxymoron, I know). He couldn't give a lot of details, but one of the classic stories he'd tell was about Soviet military training exercises--back in those days, they wouldn't even tell a convoy where they were going. Their standard operational procedure was that only the commander would know, and he'd be in the first vehicle in a convoy. Any time they needed to turn, they'd drop off a soldier at the intersection, and he'd then direct everyone else and get back into the last vehicle of the convoy. This would be repeated over and over until they reached their destination.

        Now, when the intelligence guys wanted to find out what was going on, we'd simply ask the guy at the intersection. He, predictably, would say that he couldn't tell them, and they'd reply that of course they knew they weren't allowed to follow the convoy, and that to ensure they didn't, they had to know which way the convoy was going, so they could go a different direction and not get into trouble with their superiors.

        With that impeccable logic, the soldier would generally point out where the convoy was headed, allowing the intelligence guys to speed off in that direction...

      • by radtea (464814) on Wednesday March 04, 2009 @06:42PM (#27070657)

        In 1941, maps of the Soviet Union available to Germany showed a major highway going from Moscow to very nearly the border.

        The Soviet Union continued to obfuscate maps available to civilians up until its demise. A friend who lived there in the '70's commented that he wasn't supposed to take pictures of bridges and the like, either.

        I was viewing Moscow the other day on Google Earth and thinking what a wonderful world we live in. An open world, more free than we were back then.

        I'd like to think that the US isn't going to adopt the same kind of silly things that their old enemy did, which didn't work at the time and will work even less well today.

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by nbauman (624611)

          The Soviet Union continued to obfuscate maps available to civilians up until its demise. A friend who lived there in the '70's commented that he wasn't supposed to take pictures of bridges and the like, either.

          You're not supposed to take pictures of bridges and the like here either.

          http://i1.democracynow.org/2004/7/1/pakistani_immigrant_being_deported_for_taking [democracynow.org]

          July 01, 2004

          Pakistani Immigrant Being Deported for Taking Pictures of NY Reservoir Speaks from Jail

          Pakistani immigrant Ansar Mahmood, lost his final judicial appeal this week and is scheduled to be deported. He was first picked up in October 2001 for taking photographs of an upstate New York reservoir. No terror-related charges were ever filed against him but investigators found him in minor violation of immigration law. He joins us from prison where he has been held for nearly three years.

      • Re:Why stop online? (Score:4, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 04, 2009 @07:01PM (#27070907)

        Won't work here and now, of course. It's not, after all, hard to rent a car and drive past a place to take pictures years before you hit it.

        Oh, we in the UK are well ahead of you! [amateurpho...pher.co.uk] Hardened terrorists like this man [boingboing.net] are trembling in fear at our powerful new anti-photography laws [wikipedia.org], despite the efforts of some bleeding heart liberals. [amateurpho...pher.co.uk]

        Sigh. Even the Russians are scoring points off us [russiatoday.com].

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by LiquidHAL (801263)
        In the reverse situation, the German bombings on historical sites in Britain were extremely accurate because they were using Baedeker travel guides. A very interesting (and at the same time very boring) programme recently aired on the BBC with a history professor using a Baedeker travel guide published in 1887 to take a modern tour of Britain. http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b00hw3yr [bbc.co.uk]
    • by Samah (729132) on Wednesday March 04, 2009 @06:54PM (#27070807)
      I have a better idea, let's blur real life! That way the terrorists couldn't even see their targets!
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by fractoid (1076465)
        My 'real life' is already blurred, you insensitive clod! I've been reading slashdot at -3.25 diopters for years...
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by couchslug (175151)

      "If we just blurred all maps, the terrorists couldn't even find their targets!"

      That's clearly insufficient, because old maps could still be used.

      We should invalidate the maps by blurring the world instead.

  • on other news (Score:3, Insightful)

    by hypergreatthing (254983) on Wednesday March 04, 2009 @05:17PM (#27069359)

    Politicians have called for a ban on cars since they are used for bank robberies. They have also called for a ban on cellphones since terrorists have been using cellphones for communications. More at 11.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Politicians have called for a ban on cars since they are used for bank robberies.

      Nobody's suggesting anything that extreme. We just want to blur all the windscreens so as to slow down any getaways. I suppose you'd rather have terrorists?

  • Yep. (Score:5, Funny)

    by Shadow Wrought (586631) * <shadow.wrought@nospaM.gmail.com> on Wednesday March 04, 2009 @05:17PM (#27069363) Homepage Journal
    Terr'st1: "Are you ready to hit the school and strike a blow against the evil US?"
    Terr'st2: "Yes! We must stand up against the Great Satan!"
    Terr'st1: "Good! Grab the map."
    Terr'st2: "It's... it's blurred! This cannot be!"
    Terr'st1: "Curses! We are foiled."
    Terr'st2: "You outsmarted us this time Great Satan! But we will be back."
  • by mr_mischief (456295) on Wednesday March 04, 2009 @05:18PM (#27069371) Journal

    Why in the world would you want to tell people, "These fuzzy-looking buildings are the ones we really care about the most. Targeting these would cause us the most grief"?

    Either you want all the details fuzzed or none of them. The address of a building can be deduced pretty easily once you've pointed it out to them on the map. From there they can get public records of building plans or do their own surveillance planning. Why narrow the search to the most vulnerable or most valuable targets for them?

    • by sys_mast (452486) on Wednesday March 04, 2009 @05:25PM (#27069459)

      Agreed, think of it this way.

      "they" could look up the address in a phone book, we better make publishing the address of the schools (or other buildings) illegal.

      Of course nobody will go to school since it's illegal to give out the address.

      Somehow I'm thinking "they" were able to find targets before google maps existed.

      • by triffid_98 (899609) * on Wednesday March 04, 2009 @05:47PM (#27069875)
        There's no need to go to that extreme, we can just blur the addresses out.

        As others have mentioned, terrorism is the new bogeyman to

        1. to keep people distracted from domestic issues
        2. fund more military and/or homeland 'security' spending
        3. justify more idiotic legislation like this one

        I'm not afraid of Terrorists. I'm afraid of the idiots who believe that Terrorists are our biggest problem, thereby keeping these jackasses in power.

        "they" could look up the address in a phone book, we better make publishing the address of the schools (or other buildings) illegal.

        • by JCSoRocks (1142053) on Wednesday March 04, 2009 @06:02PM (#27070089)

          I'm not afraid of Terrorists. I'm afraid of the idiots who believe that Terrorists are our biggest problem, thereby keeping these jackasses in power.

          Is anyone anyone really afraid of terrorists? Crackheads probably kill more people in America than terrorists do. Terrorists are dedicated enough to this to commit suicide in the process of doing it. They are not going to be deterred by the small amount of extra work necessary to survey a building rather than consulting google maps. All this does is narrow down the list of targets and piss everyone else off.

          • Actually... (Score:5, Interesting)

            by Peter Simpson (112887) on Wednesday March 04, 2009 @07:40PM (#27071385)

            "Is anyone anyone really afraid of terrorists? Crackheads probably kill more people in America than terrorists do."

            The reason they're called terrorists, is because they try to cause terror -- unreasoning fear is their goal.

            We kill 40,000 of ourselves (in round numbers) in traffic accidents *every year*:
            http://www-fars.nhtsa.dot.gov/Main/index.aspx [dot.gov]

            That's approximately 10 times the current US death toll in Iraq. Every year!

            Now, every life is precious, and no one should die needlessly. But it's good to keep terrorism in perspective.

            • Re:Actually... (Score:4, Insightful)

              by fractoid (1076465) on Wednesday March 04, 2009 @08:52PM (#27072071) Homepage
              Hell, I bet McDonalds kills more people with hearteriosclerosis each year than die from bullets in the US. That doesn't figure, though, because peoples' brains have evolved to remember rare dramatic events over common boring events. Uncle Mick cheeseburgering himself to death is both common and boring. That one guy who got eaten by a shark in his bathtub, or the one who always carried his lucky penny everywhere and then won the lottery... those are the ones we remember. That's why Lotto attracts the same schmucks every week, and why many people are scared of air travel when by rights they should be ten times as scared of driving down to the local shops.
      • by causality (777677) on Wednesday March 04, 2009 @05:57PM (#27070019)

        Agreed, think of it this way.

        "they" could look up the address in a phone book, we better make publishing the address of the schools (or other buildings) illegal.

        Of course nobody will go to school since it's illegal to give out the address.

        Somehow I'm thinking "they" were able to find targets before google maps existed.

        "They" were. Humans have fought each other for all of known history. Only recently have there been technological means of reconissance. Reconissance managed to get done before there were satellites and online maps or computers. Even if this map-blurring were 100% effective at its stated purpose (my bet is that it won't be), all it would accomplish is the removal of one potential method. Unfortunately, there are many potential methods. This is just a feel-good worthless measure at best. At worst, it's an excuse for closer state control and regulation of online services -- anyone with some sense has known that politicians have desired that for a long time now. If it's like so many other things, all they need to do is wait for a good enough excuse.

        For anyone who thinks this will accomplish anything, I say to you that it's the height of hubris to assume that you are so clever while your enemy is so stupid. Many needless deaths and military defeats have resulted from this sort of thinking. If you're not a strategist and don't understand these basic things, is it so much to ask that you refrain from making strategic decisions? The reality is that if some criminal group really wants to wreak havoc and if they don't give a damn about their own lives and are willing to die in the attempt to do so, there's not a lot you can do to stop them. At least not without destroying whatever freedoms we have left, which is what any truly effective measures would do. I didn't cause this to be true and I don't like it either, but we seriously need to work with the reality of the situation if we are to understand or accomplish anything.

        I think we forget that you're a lot more likely to die by being struck by lightning than by being hit by a terrorist attack. I'm so tired of the level of cowaradice that this particular issue reveals. Our ancestors (speaking of the USA) realized that there are things that are more important than life itself, such as freedom, which is why they were willing to go to war to fight and die for those things. Personally, I'd rather keep all of my freedoms even if that meant that my chances of dying in a terrorist attack were increased 100-fold. For those of you who think that's an extreme position or an unwise choice, I have a question: if not for something truly good and wholesome and wonderful that fills your life with purpose, such as the freedom to be who you are and live your own life, what exactly are you living for that makes you so afraid of death, especially a particularly unlikely death? If you have them, what kind of message does your cowardice send to your children? That you should give up everything that is sacred to you for any fear or any bully who comes along? No wonder you are so afraid of dying; the breath in your lungs is the only thing about you that seems truly alive.

    • by demonbug (309515) on Wednesday March 04, 2009 @05:34PM (#27069635) Journal

      To be fair, the actual text [ca.gov]of the bill only requires the images to be blurred if the Operator already identifies the building. Specifically:

      This bill would prohibit an operator, as defined, of a commercial
      Internet Web site or online service that makes a virtual globe
      browser available to members of the public from providing aerial or
      satellite photographs or imagery of places in this state that have
      been identified on the Internet Web site by the operator as a school,
      place of worship, or government or medical building or facility
      unless those photographs or images have been blurred.

      Still pretty dumb, though.

  • I've started peeing on all my paper maps to avoid supporting any terrorists.. ! read that al habib.. i've had a lot of coffee this morning!!

  • Everyone should blur Anderson's name in all publications and documents to make sure he is safe from terrorists.
  • by RobertB-DC (622190) * on Wednesday March 04, 2009 @05:21PM (#27069407) Homepage Journal

    The guy is brilliant. We need only follow his example to rid us of another pesky problem -- one that has afflicted our country several times since 9/11. Corrupt politicians.

    It is a proven fact that politicians are corrupted by money. Absolutely proven!

    Therefore, we should immediately ban all political contributions. Not just by fat cats, but ALL political contributions. Oh, and none of this "I'll use my own money" -- we must also ban all political expenditures as well. No campaign ads, no flyers, no paid push pollers.

    Actually, that sounds like a great idea... I'm starting to believe my own sarcasm. How sad is that?

  • All I'm trying to do is stop terrorists ...

    And all I'm asking you to do is show me the increase in terrorist attacks since Online Maps have become available ... or really anything at all backing the idea that blurring online maps will "stop terrorists."

    I know I'd give it up right away if I was set on killing all Americans and when I got onto Google maps the local Wal-Mart was blurred out. There would be no other way to figure out its location or the lay of the land around it. None, I would be thwarted.

    • by mcgrew (92797) * on Wednesday March 04, 2009 @05:39PM (#27069733) Homepage Journal

      And all I'm asking you to do is show me the increase in terrorist attacks since Online Maps have become available

      We had one terrorist attack on US soil so far this century that cost almost 3,000 lives. Meanwhile, 45,000 die violently on US highways every single year, and another half million die horribly from cancer.

      Our politicians are not only gutless cowards, but they're STUPID gutless cowards with no sense of proportion whatever.

  • It's pointless unless they can blur the buildings in real life too.

    But if they could do that... well, that'd be pretty sweet.

    Private Jones: "Sir, incoming terrorists!"
    Commander Smith: "Activate cloaking shields! Deploy decoy buildings!"

  • churches? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by TheGratefulNet (143330) on Wednesday March 04, 2009 @05:22PM (#27069425)

    huh? you mean the supposed virtual-landlord of those churches isn't powerful enough to protect his own property?

    why not pray for protection? REALLY test your faith - put it on the line and see where it gets you. if your churches suffer from terror targets, well, its the will of god and who's to argue with that? ;)

    • Each time I see a steeple with a lightning rod, I wonder about substantial lack of faith on the part of the congregation.

    • Re:churches? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by CannonballHead (842625) on Wednesday March 04, 2009 @06:32PM (#27070529)

      God has never rewarded stupidity or laziness.

      If you think most religions', let alone Christianity's, meaning of "faith" means "lazy, let-God-do-everything, don't have to do anything ourselves," then you appear to know very little about it.

      Protect His own property? Sure. Ever wondered how the Bible survived with so many world powers trying to extinguish it during history? Or, for that matter, the Christian faith in general? How many religions do you know of that survived through even just Rome's occupation of most of the world?

      But I've never heard, and I have studied the Bible, anyone claim that a protestant church building is somehow specially protected by God all the time as though it were a "holy" place....

  • Priorities (Score:5, Insightful)

    by lobiusmoop (305328) on Wednesday March 04, 2009 @05:23PM (#27069429) Homepage

    Isn't California running out of money, spare electricity capacity and (most importantly) fresh water? In terms of imminent threats, I'm surprised terrorism is even on the horizon.

    • Taxes (Score:3, Insightful)

      by nurb432 (527695)

      Terrorism is todays excuse to raise taxes. ( for the kids was the 90s ) Not surprising at all that they are doing this.

    • by Locke2005 (849178) on Wednesday March 04, 2009 @05:30PM (#27069543)
      In fact, a really good terrorist attack would cut down on the demand for water and electricity, and make things much better for the remaining Californians! Are you listening, Al Qaeda? Attacking California could only make the situation there better, not worse!
  • by cat_jesus (525334) on Wednesday March 04, 2009 @05:29PM (#27069537)

    Why don't we just ban terrorism instead?

  • decaying orbit (Score:5, Insightful)

    by timmarhy (659436) on Wednesday March 04, 2009 @05:30PM (#27069557)
    it's like the USA has been in some kind decaying orbit for the last decade. just when you think the sepo's can't get worse they drop another notch.
  • by flaming error (1041742) on Wednesday March 04, 2009 @05:31PM (#27069579) Journal

    So that California doesn't have to update Google whenever soft targets change, I propose that California paint the roofs of sensitive locations fluorescent orange, then add satellite-visible concentric black circles to clearly indicate to Google that the building is a target.

    California could also inform Google of the site's importance, by painting a large black number representing a score from 1-10.

    Then, just in case the terrorists still find the place, outside the site we should post a large warning sign saying "Terrorism Prohibited at this Site."

  • by janwedekind (778872) on Wednesday March 04, 2009 @05:48PM (#27069891) Homepage
    Reminds me of a German politician who suggested an innovative solution against kids browsing porn: Porn sites must be offline until 10 pm!
  • by SupremoMan (912191) on Wednesday March 04, 2009 @05:48PM (#27069901)
    It's the fact they always seem to say everything they think.
  • by tekrat (242117) on Wednesday March 04, 2009 @05:57PM (#27070015) Homepage Journal

    Politicians have to be the stupidist creatures on earth.
    Maybe we'd have less terrorism if we banned politcians.

    Hey, terrorist were *reading* maps to plan terrorist attacks. Let's outlaw reading!

    But if you dare say "Maybe we shouldn't put automatic assault rifles into the hands of anyone with a driver's license", then the gun freaks go ape-shit.

    Why is it that they'll ban and outlaw everything, except the obvious?

    Secondly, if someone was a terrorist, wouldn't they know then to attack anything on the maps that are blurry?

    Oh, my head hurts. Stop the planet, I want to get off.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Duradin (1261418)
      Ya, it's not like you need a Federal Firearms License to own an automatic weapon or anything. And FFLs are sooooooo easy to get. Hand them out like candy they do.
    • by Pinckney (1098477) on Wednesday March 04, 2009 @07:16PM (#27071105)

      But if you dare say "Maybe we shouldn't put automatic assault rifles into the hands of anyone with a driver's license", then the gun freaks go ape-shit. Why is it that they'll ban and outlaw everything, except the obvious?

      First of all, all legal automatic weapons require registration (including a background check, fingerprinting, etc) with the ATF, a signature from your local sheriff or chief of police, and payment of a (admittedly small) tax. They're also now obscenely expensive, as so few even exist that can even be transfered.
      What can be obtained is a semi-automatic weapon---one that fires with each distinct pull of the trigger. There are few special regulations on such weapons, although California has actually done more to restrict them than most other states. For example, you can't own a rifle with a fixed magazine of greater than 10 rounds capacity.
      As for why they don't ban guns outright, I refer you to District of Columbia v. Heller [wikipedia.org]. To paraphrase, the basic conclusion of the supreme court was that individuals have a natural right to self defense, and that a ban of an entire class of weapons suitable for self defense is unconstitutional.

    • by CrimsonAvenger (580665) on Wednesday March 04, 2009 @07:57PM (#27071533)

      But if you dare say "Maybe we shouldn't put automatic assault rifles into the hands of anyone with a driver's license", then the gun freaks go ape-shit.

      Alas, "automatic assault rifles" require quite a bit more than a driver's license to get. Since sometime in the 1930's.

      Most likely you meant "semi-automatic assault weapons". Which are functionally the same as "semi-automatic hunting rifles". Yes, the latter exist. Browning makes a rather good one. And it's FAR more deadly than any "semi-auto assault weapon" ever built, given that it comes in heavier calibers, and functions just as quickly.

      Note, by the way, that buying a "semi-automatic assault weapon" (like any other firearm of any type) from a dealer requires a Federal background check. Which can't be passed till you turn 18 (for a long-gun), or 21 (for a handgun). In addition to whatever State and local laws might apply.

      Note, further, that the last time we banned "assault weapons", we actually banned "semi-automatic assault weapons". Oddly enough, that law made it illegal to buy a semi-automatic version of the AK-47 (sometimes known as a MAK-90, it looked like an AK while lacking the defining chracteristic of the AK) while leaving it perfectly legal to buy a FULLY automatic version of the AK-47 (a real AK-47, in other words).

  • by Facegarden (967477) on Wednesday March 04, 2009 @05:59PM (#27070039)

    Yeah... I'm pretty sure that even with NO map i could still find a school, just drive around for a bit and I will find one.
    Or, like, find the school's website and look at their address there.
    In fact, why even blur them? It would be sufficient to just de-list these things from map services, it's not like they find schools by looking for school shaped things, they just search the map for schools.

    Of course, i don't think that de-listing them is anything less than moronic, but still, it at least makes more sense than blurring things.
    -Taylor

  • by TinBromide (921574) on Wednesday March 04, 2009 @06:17PM (#27070315)
    Terrorist 1: Ok, i've printed out this map of the target, its a middleschool attended by 400 kids, if we crash a plane into it, we might be able to take half of it out and maybe kill 200 of the great satan's young.

    Terrorist 2: Excellent, since we've taken over this plane in a post 9/11 environment where the average person who flies in a plane believes that if a terrorist takes over the plane, their lives are forfeit anyway, they had no problem revolting and attempting to kill us.

    Terrorist 1: Yeah, that was rough, thanks be that we had our bottles of water to fight them off.

    Terrorist 2: Don't forget our nail clippers and cuticle scissors! Anyway, I think our target should be over there, that's elm street. Aim between the soccer field and the baseball diamond.

    Terrorist 1: Wait! That looks nothing like the picture! Its not blurred out like in the print out!

    Terrorist 2: Drat, foiled again, CURSE YOU JOEL ANDERSON!!!!
  • by Jackie_Chan_Fan (730745) on Wednesday March 04, 2009 @10:41PM (#27073121)

    Does this asshat actually think that you cant fly an airplane into a building that is blurry? :P

    I think this guy just wants to create a law where politicians and wealthy people have their homes censored from google map like sites, so that they're protected from YOU and not terrorists.

    You're poor, and thats more of a threat than any supposed "terrorists"

  • by justinlee37 (993373) on Wednesday March 04, 2009 @10:44PM (#27073139)

    All this will do will be to paint giant bullseye targets on all of the locations they want to "protect." Potential terrorists will see that the area is blurred out, investigate it on foot via spies and "sleeper agents" to plan their attack (which will produce much more detailed recon than some crummy single-frame Google Map satellite image).

    If they're close enough to attack then they're close enough to reconnoiter this information for themselves anyway, and trying to "censor" it just shows them what we are afraid they will attack. Stupid measures like these are drowning our economy in opportunity losses -- if it goes through, some poor sap at Google is going to have to waste his days blurring out little bits of the map in a totally vain attempt at some hick senator's backwards notions of security.

    Seriously, Congress, leave espionage to the people you appointed to carry out such activities. Meddling in things you don't know about is asinine.

  • Helping terrorists (Score:3, Insightful)

    by MillionthMonkey (240664) on Wednesday March 04, 2009 @10:51PM (#27073193)

    Why are we so scared of doing anything that might "help terrorists"? If you install a drinking fountain and a terrorist takes a sip, you just helped a terrorist. If you write a software program downloaded by a terrorist, you just helped a terrorist. Many of you reading this have held doors open for terrorists. Things that help everybody help terrorists. And trying to prevent helping terrorists usually means being unhelpful to everybody. "I don't want California to be helping map out future targets for terrorists" is the kind of thing idiots worry about.

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