By Daniel Jennings – Off The Grid News
Private companies like Google now have the legal right to use the kind of spy satellite technology once reserved for agencies like the NSA.
Our homes have been on Google for years, but the detail was limited to objects no larger than about 20 inches. Last year the US Department of Commerce lifted restrictions that essentially allow companies like Google and Microsoft (which owns Bing) to show images to the world as small as 12 inches.
That means they can use pictures of your property with far greater detail – potentially showing features like the color of your mailbox, objects sitting in your backyard, and even the types of plants growing in your garden.
“You can actually definitely see (car) windshields,” DigitalGlobe’s Kumar Navulur told Gigaom.com. DigitalGlobe is one of the satellite companies using the new technology. “We can actually tell you whether it’s a truck or an SUV or a regular car. We can identify pictures of a baseball diamond.”
Imagery taken is now for sale at DigitalGlobe’s website.
If that was not disturbing enough, Google paid $500 million for SkyBox Imaging, a company that provides real-time high resolution pictures. Google plans to add Skybox imagery to Google Maps.
What does all this mean? It is going to be easier than ever for companies to take detailed pictures of your property.
The bad news is that, so far, it is impossible to hide your home from these next-generation eyes in the sky. The good news, though, is that all of the major mapping websites – Google, Bing and Yahoo – allow you to blur your home on their “street view” images, which often provide even more detail than satellite images.
It’s not uncommon to see pictures of families playing in their yards or children walking the dog – right there on Google Maps for the world to see. Google’s computers are programmed to “blur” faces and license plates, but they don’t catch everything.
Below you will find directions on how to blur your home on the street view functions of Google Maps, Bing and Yahoo. It only takes a few minutes for each one.