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Google Earth Reveals Korean Defenses

Posted January. 25, 2007 03:35,   


In the satellite service provided by U.S. search portal “Google,” a closely-taken photo of an anti-aircraft missile position of Korea’s air force is posted. Since the photo is showing part of the key defense networks of Seoul and the metropolitan area against North Korea, they are raising a security issue.

The ground-to-air missiles currently deployed in the air defense position are intended to deter North Korean aircraft that could raid Seoul and the metropolitan area in case of an emergency.

After searching “earth.google.com” site, Google’s satellite service, on January 24, a vivid satellite photo of an air defense position deployed some place within Seoul was confirmed.

The resolution of the photo is so high that one can see not only the exact location of the military unit but also how many positions of anti-air craft missiles exist and where those missiles are deployed within the unit. One military official said, “The location of key air-defense missile deployments are an important military secret. They are at least category 2 confidentiality.”

Google stirred controversy in 2005 as well by putting up on the Internet the satellite pictures of Korea’s domestic major security facilities including the presidential office of Cheong Wa Dae, the Ministry of Defense and military bases of the navy and air force. At that time, the government said, “The National Security Council (NSC) is trying to find countermeasures in consultation with relevant agencies in the U.S.” However, Google has still left the satellite photos of major defense facilities of Korea on the Internet.

One source from a military security agency said, “ Since there is no means to ban the satellite photos taken by foreign commercial satellites, which are not subject to domestic laws. Currently there is no clear way to deal with such issues even if similar cases happen.”