A click on Google Earth is all that is needed to access images of sensitive locations. To counter the risk posed by high-resolution satellite images on the Net, India now plans to use diplomacy, rather than use technology to blur them, as was earlier planned.
The government has decided to ask the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) and the scientific community to raise concerns with counterparts abroad, particularly in the US, on the risk factor - the probability of terrorists using the images.
Sources said that at a high-level meeting convened by Cabinet Secretary BK Chaturvedi in September, it was proposed that the MEA should raise the issue with the US at a bilateral level. The MEA will discuss the security concerns at an official level while a delegation led by the Information Technology Ministry will hold meetings with the companies concerned. Chaturvedi confirmed the meeting but did not want to elaborate on the decisions.
An official said the government's scientific departments had been asked to raise the issue at multilateral meetings and seek an international protocol that will take care of the security concerns. New Delhi believes that there should be an international agreement that before satellite pictures are taken over a particular country, the permission of that country has to be taken.