TAIPEI (CNA) — The satellite images on Google Maps that raised public concerns because they exposed the locations of Taiwan’s important military deployments have been removed from the web mapping service’s platform, Minister of National Defense Yen De-fa (嚴德發) said Feb. 22.
After his ministry talked with Google staff, the company removed the 3-dimensional images earlier in the day, said Yen during an interpellation session in the Legislative Yuan after he was questioned by Kuomintang lawmaker Lai Shyh-bao (賴士葆) about the worrisome satellite images.
Lai said the online mapping service has given away the nation’s military secrets. “All important bases of our national defense have been exposed,” said Lai.
In reply, Yen said the military has won Google’s cooperation, which has not only removed the images in the cities and counties north of Taichung that had been put online but also agreed to leave out 3D images of places south of Taichung from its mapping platform.
Yen added that Google promised such an incident won’t happen again.
Last week, some netizens discovered that Taiwan’s National Security Bureau, Military Intelligence Bureau, and the country’s Patriot missile installation in New Taipei City’s Xindian District — all classified venues located in the greater Taipei area — were exposed in detail on the 3D images provided by Google for its new map service.
Asked about the matter by reporters last Friday, Yen tried to assure the public that the exposure will not affect Taiwan’s military operations. “The site of a military base does not equally mean its fixed position during wartime,” he said.
By Fang Cheng-hsiang and Elizabeth Hsu