Mountain View (CA) - Google has been banned from surveying US military bases after it took street-level photographs of a Texas army base. The Department of Defense believes the photographs could compromise security and has ordered base commanders to prohibit Google Earth teams from driving their picture taking vehicles onto military property.
The order was issued by Gene Renuart, an Air Force General and head of the US Northern Command. According to Google the Earth teams accidentally asked for access to Fort Sam Houston which is not in Google's policy. The team was given permission to take photographs and then published the information online.
General Renuart says the photos depict guard and barrier locations along with exact building entry and exit points. Google spokesman Larry Yu has apologized for the mistake and the company has taken the offending photos offline.
Some people have been concerned about Google's street-level pictures and say the images can intrude on privacy. Several websites generate decent traffic by finding and posting the most interesting photos. Here's one we found after 30 seconds of searching. A giant void in the middle of San Francisco.