Here’s a bad morning if you’re a Taiwanese general: you open your morning newspaper, and you find a map of your brand new TOP SECRET $1.2 billion radar facility. Even worse, the map is a screenshot of Apple’s new iOS mapping software, which means there are millions of people with access to satellite images of a classified military facility. And it’s not like the facility is a minor, unimportant building. According to PhysOrg:
The Hsinchu base houses a cutting-edge long-range radar procured from the United States in 2003. Construction of the radar is expected to be completed by the end of the year. The ultra-high-frequency radar, supplied by US defence group Raytheon, is capable of detecting missiles launched as far away as Xinjiang in China’s northwest, military officials say. They say the radar, which cost $1.23 billion, is designed to give Taiwan minutes of extra warning in case of a Chinese missile attack.
Well, one thing’s for sure: If China didn’t know where the facility was before, they do now. In the past, militaries around the world have asked Google to blur or lower the resolution of certain sensitive locations in Google Earth or Google Maps. Taiwan says they have submitted a request to Apple, but Apple hasn’t released a statement yet. It’s funny–we’ve been complaining about Apple Maps missing a ton of information, but this development meant that they were too detailed and accurate. At least you’d feel that way if you were a Taiwanese general.