Taiwan asking Apple to lower resolution of sensitive military imagery
Anyone can agree – Apple’s Maps has been nothing but trouble. But it doesn't stop at civilian annoyance with incorrect 3D and locational data. Apparently, the Taiwanese government is afraid that Apple maps will betray sensitive military secrets, and will ask the company to amend satellite imagery.
Located near the Hsinchu Air base, Taiwan's new early warning station is a $1.4 billion effort that can detect approaching aircraft and missiles from locations as far away as western China. The ten story station is built with American technology, and could prove to be helpful in the event of an attack from China or somewhere else close by, with the ability to track oncoming targets and fire missiles to intercept them.
Hsinchu City, Taiwan, in Apple Maps
The satellite location in Apple maps is evidently quite visible, compared to the images that can be found in Google Maps. Google reduces the available resolution of sensitive locations, such as Air Force bases in the U.S and Taiwan's own warning station. Defense Ministry spokesman David Lo said regarding the matter that Apple should follow suite with this policy, and use only low resolution imagery to represent such locations.
Concern about the images available from Apple’s Maps began after local newspaper Liberty Times published a satellite image of a “top-secret long-range radar base”, according Phys.org. Representatives for the Taiwanese government have announced their intentions to approach Apple with a formal request to replace the satellite imagery with lower resolution versions.
If anything, this whole story just draws more attention to the facility. But apparently it is more important to Taiwan that detailed images are unavailable to whoever may be watching than it is to keep a lower publicity of the station’s existence.
It is conceivable that this ordeal will draw the attention of other officials in the world to the possible security issues represented by Apple’s less amended satellite imagery, however inferior their service may be to competitors.