To develop detailed aerial maps, Google and Apple are deploying planes equipped with military-grade cameras to take photographs that can potentially see into homes, drawing privacy concerns, the U.K. Daily Mail
Google, which expects by the end of the year to have 3D coverage of towns and cities with a combined population of 300 million, has already sent planes over cities while Apple has acquired a firm using technology that has been tested on at least 20 locations and will use its planes to help create detailed 3D maps. Using similar technology that allows intelligence agencies to identify terrorist targets in Afghanistan, Apple’s cameras are so powerful they could potentially see into homes through skylights and windows, according to the Daily Mail.
Privacy advocates such as Nick Pickles, director of Big Brother Watch, call the use of the technology a “race to the bottom.”
“The next generation of maps is taking us over the garden fence,” he told the Daily Mail. “You won’t be able to sunbathe in your garden without worrying about an Apple or Google plane buzzing overhead taking pictures.”
A small plane carrying the cameras can photograph up to 38.6 square miles every hour. The images are taken at around 1,600 feet and each plane is equipped with multiple cameras taking high-resolution photographs of buildings and landmarks from every possible angle, which are then compiled to make three-dimensional images, according to the Daily Mail. People below would not be aware that they are being photographed.
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