Is Google's new real-time flight data in Google Earth a gift to terrorists?

Summary:I don't know. Hopefully, it's not the kind of thing that you don't know, until you know. You know?

Sometimes I just don't know. On one hand, I'm amazed at the information we all have at our fingertips. On the other hand, I'm appalled at the information we all have at our fingertips.

The subject of today's security angst is Google's announcement that you can now get almost-real-time flight data and tracking in Google Earth.

Before I tell you my worries, let me clarify what almost real-time means. Basically, everything is delayed about 20 minutes. If it looks like Flight 222 is over the Mississippi right now, it actually passed over the Mississippi 20 minutes ago.

So now you know the conflict. Obviously, if the data was accurate and absolutely real-time, it'd be kinda scary.

But, since the data isn't real-time, it's probably been neutered of any potential threat. Sure, there's still flight path information provided, and math is still math, but, well, it makes the hairs on the back of my neck stand up a little.

Is this new feature a cool novelty that'll help kids everywhere see just about where Dad is on his way home to San Mateo from Worcester? Or are there more sinister possibilities?

I don't know. Hopefully, it's not the kind of thing that you don't know, until you know. You know?

What do you think? Share your raging paranoid delusions below.

Topics: Security, Google

About

In addition to hosting the ZDNet Government and ZDNet DIY-IT blogs, CBS Interactive's Distinguished Lecturer David Gewirtz is an author, U.S. policy advisor and computer scientist. He is featured in The History Channel special The President's Book of Secrets, is one of America's foremost cyber-security experts, and is a top expert on savi... Full Bio

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