Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Google Earth discloses the palaces in Bahrain

When Google Earth increased the resolution of its coverage of the Persian Gulf ("the Gulf" my friend from Saudi Arabia used to say), people in the island kingdom of Bahrain started learning what is behind the walls - huge palaces and villas that cover many acres, some that are larger than two or three neighboring villages, one that blocks fishermen from accessing the sea. The privileged demand the most of everything. The rest have little space to live in. So the government of Bahrain decided that the rich have the right of privacy, that peons can't look over the walls to see what they are being denied. In August they blocked access to Google Earth and demanded that GE stop showing the higher resolution photos of their country. Of course people found ways around simple access blocking. Mahmood reports:
... through Google Earth, the whole world, let alone the Bahraini users, can zoom in and have a good look at palaces and islands which a normal Bahraini wouldn’t even dream of one day coming close to, let alone stepping foot in, and the glaring confiscation of virtually all but 3% of beaches of the islands.
Mahnood also links to the method of getting around access blocking!

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