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New technology peeps into privacy of your room

You think technology has made life easier, safe and secure. Think again. For US tech giants are using military-grade cameras so powerful that they can see into homes to produce aerial maps which can show up objects just four inches wide. Spy in the sky

india Updated: Jun 12, 2012 15:41 IST

You think technology has made life easier, safe and secure. Think again. For US tech giants are using military-grade cameras so powerful that they can see into homes to produce aerial maps which can show up objects just four inches wide.

Google and Apple will use new hi-tech mapping planes that can film through skylights and windows, putting privacy at risk, the Daily mail reported.

The technology is similar to that used by intelligence agencies in identifying terrorist targets in Afghanistan, the report said.

Google has admitted to having sent planes over cities, while Apple has acquired a firm using spy-in-the-sky technology that has been tested on at least 20 locations, including London.

The search engine giant will use its spy planes to help create 3D maps with much more detail than its satellite-derived Google Earth images.

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Google expects by the end of the year to have 3D coverage of towns and cities with a combined population of 300million. It has not revealed any locations so far.

Apple is expected to unveil its new mapping applications for its iPhone and other devices today ? along with privacy safeguards. Its 3D maps will reportedly show for the first time the sides of tall buildings, such as the Big Ben clock tower, the report said.

Current 3D mapping technology relies on aerial images taken at a much lower resolution than the technology Apple is thought to be using. This means that when users 'zoom in', details tend to be lost because of the poor image quality. Spy planes are able to photograph around 40 square miles every hour, suggesting they would be flying too quickly and at too great a height to access domestic wifi networks.

But experts say the technology is a sinister development that brings the surveillance society a step closer. Nick Pickles, director of Big Brother Watch, warned that privacy risked being sacrificed in a commercial 'race to the bottom'.