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Military to ask Apple to cut satellite photo resolution: spokesman

ROC Central News Agency

2012/10/09 15:19:07

Taipei, Oct. 9 (CNA) The Ministry of National Defense (MND) will ask Apple Inc. to lower the resolution of its satellite photos of major military facilities and sensitive locations, a ministry spokesman said Tuesday.

Luo Shou-he was responding to questions about media reports that Apple's new iOS6 software clearly shows the Air Force's long-range early warning radar installations in its satellite photos.

There is no law governing the content of commercial satellite photos at present, Luo said, but he said the MND will ask Apple to follow Google's practice and limit the resolution of the photos.

Since the launch of Google Maps, fixed military installations, such as radar stations and airfields, have not been able to avoid exposure by the satellite photos, Luo said, a problem faced not only by the Republic of China (Taiwan), but also the United States, Russia, Europe, mainland China and others.

"We will ask Apple to follow the pattern previously adopted by Google and reduce the resolution of satellite photos showing the military's major facilities and sensitive installations or use other ways to properly shield our targets to reduce the threat to security," Luo said.

The military will also step up efforts to camouflage major facilities to cover up their recognizable features and adopt protective measures to ensure the security of military bases, Luo said.

Asked about whether secrets could be exposed by the photos, Luo said military secrets exist inside rather than outside military facilities.

"How to manage the insides of military facilities well is the major issue," he said.

Lt. Gen. Wu Wan-chiao, director of the MND's Department of Political Warfare, said that when Google first launched its map software, the military also expressed the hope that the photos could be less clear.

Now when Google Maps focuses in on military bases near Dazhi in suburban Taipei, for example, only a large blank area is shown, he said.

(By Chen Pei-Huang and Lilian Wu)
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