Shostack + Friends Blog Archive


VP's residence is still blurred on Google Earth (political influence on data and its long shadow)

Amusement: Some of you may have heard that former VP Dick Cheney pulled some strings to get Google (or rather their third party supplier) to blur the image of his residence in DC  (One Observatory Circle), presumably for security reasons.   Cheney is out and Biden is in, so you’d think that the image would now be unblurred.  Not so.  Here’s the current image.   Compare it to the neighboring buildings across the street  and you can clearly see that the VP’s residence is still blurred.    What about the more important targets?  Both the White House (1600 Pennsylvania Ave.) and 10 Downing St. in London  are not blurred.  Maybe they didn’t have the same clout as Cheney. 

Lesson:  Politics and power can manipulate the data, and also leave a shadow.   Could this happen to information security data if it were more visible and public?  You bet.  I’m not being cynical, just realistic.  Reminds me of a team motto from a project long ago:  “Trust no one.  Believe nothing.”  In other words, don’t take any data on face value.  Always inquire about the interests of the parties who produce or publish the data.

One comment on "VP's residence is still blurred on Google Earth (political influence on data and its long shadow)"

  • iamnowonmai says:

    What on earth is accomplished by blurring the image? The freaking place is only photographed about 500 times/day by tourists.

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