Thursday, February 13, 2014
I’ve noticed a curious thing about Google Maps. As most of you may know, that amazing service provides a way to zoom in on any place on earth with mere mouse-clicks.
So just being naturally curious, I chose various cities at random — Cleveland, Ohio; Salzburg, Austria; Acapulco, Mexico; Triest, Italy; Wellington, New Zealand — and all enable the viewer to zoom in until one can see cars and people and streets. Only the last named stopped short of actually showing a street-level view, but still it got very close.
However, when you try to view any city in the Muslim world, the view stops way short of zooming in — so high up you can only make out buildings as though from a plane high above. I tried Karachi, Pakistan; Mecca, Saudi Arabia; Cairo, Egypt; and Amman, Jordan. Karachi and Mecca were notably limited, so high up I could not even make out buildings at all. When I did try to zoom in, the visuals seemed to become transformed into a computer model replicating what the buildings houses and streets would look like if they were actually photographs of real buildings, houses and streets. (I haven't tried all major cities in the Muslim world yet, but I just tried Istanbul, Turkey, and its view is roughly the same as Wellington, New Zealand.)
Coincidence? Has Google been ordered to limit their views of Muslim countries for some (likely inept) security reasons? Or is this yet another way to "respect" the precious sensibilities of Muslims? Perhaps some Muslim dignitaries, or even formally representatives of the O.I.C. (Organization of Islamic Conference) requested that this be done, for religious reasons, in that they do not want the prying eyes of the Kuffar world Googling and ogling at their people and societies.
Imagine what daily crimes and outrages one could document in the streets and alleys of Karachi or Mecca…