Google executive admits gun don't kill people, people kill people

Steve Johnson
by Steve Johnson

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.

Steve Johnson
Steve Johnson

I founded TFB in 2007 and over 10 years worked tirelessly, with the help of my team, to build it up into the largest gun blog online. I retired as Editor in Chief in 2017. During my decade at TFB I was fortunate to work with the most amazing talented writers and genuinely good people!

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  • Null Null on Mar 04, 2009

    Want to know what is ironic? The images on of the Faslane area are much higher resolution than Google's.

  • Ryo Ryo on Mar 04, 2009

    I actually work at Google, and you'd be surprised at how many of us are not only gun owners (and obviously pro-gun), but openly/vocally so. I can't speak about the company's policies, but it's not necessarily ideologically driven. I've heard that eBay and PayPal's "anti-gun" policies are there more for legal reasons than ideological reasons. Having worked at large corporations, that sounds plausible to me since big companies are far more interested in covering their legal asses (and making money) than taking a political or moral stance.

    • Steve Steve on Mar 04, 2009

      @Ryo Ryo, thats great to know! Many of us assumed Google very was anti gun after blocking gun blogs from using ad words back in 2007:

      I think many of us gun bloggers think it is only a matter of time till we are banned again.