I nearly fell out of my seat when I read this. From the an article at The Age (emphasis mine):
In January, John Hanke, the director in charge of Google Earth and Google Maps, hit back at the claims, saying terrorists would still carry out their attacks with or without Google’s help.
“I don’t really think it’s tipping the balance in favour of the bad guys,” Hanke said.
“The evilness is in the philosophies and the desires of those that want to do evil. They will use the tools at hand to do that, whether it’s throwing a Molotov cocktail, or shooting a rifle or using some piece of technology as part of the process.“
Wow! I had to read it twice just to make sure it was not mis-reading it. Google has taken a very dim view on gun related websites in the past. For example, Google advertisements are banned on websites selling firearms.
This actually is the perfect example of “XYZ don’t kill people, people kill people”. Most people love Google Earth and Google Maps, and they love them despite the fact that they are probably used by terrorists planning attacks.
There is currently a debate in the UK about Google Earth showing a top secret nuke submarine base. It sounds to me like there is a bureaucratic problem where government workers don’t want to / can’t pass on military base coordinates to Google, but on the other hand don’t want the images showing up.