How Georgia Got Wiped Off The Map

When you’re my age and you read about wars and conflict in history books, everything always seems so formulaic and perhaps even a bit ancient. So I was surprised to see today, something that speaks a little more to my generation. Apparently, the Russian-invaded country Georgia that has been making headlines this month, has been wiped off the map of the world. Google maps that is.

With infrastructure being the first target of most conflicts, the search engine giant, Google, doesn’t want to be seen as helping either side with its mapping technology. The company has since removed all the details normally seen on Google maps of a country, that include roads, towns and cities in Georgia, as well as from the maps of neighboring countries Azerbaijan and Armenia.

Katie Hunter of Foreign Policy Passport points out that Google has been helping Georgia out one way, all be it indirectly. It’s prime blogging platform, Blogger, has been a key way to communicate with the masses for news service Civil Georgia and the country’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs; keeping score of the bombings in a hack-free environment. This has been especially vital given that since the physical conflict started, Russian hackers have sought to dominate the web by hacking Georgian websites that included the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, putting up an image that had Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili compared side-by-side with Hitler.

You have to admit. This is the kind of warfare that really speaks to the web 2.0 generation.

Thought Is Free...

10 Comments

  1. you know, i would have really wanted to see if giant google had done that with the 2006 Lebanon-Israel war!!!

    also, Palestine is completely wiped off google maps… hmmm, can’t blame ‘em for that since Palestine got unjustly wiped off the face of earth prior google, eh?

  2. i didnt get it, how exactly you concluded they are Russian hackers? the Georgian president is very much of a dictator, he is the worst thing a former USSR country could ever get, don’t you think that there might be Georgian IT geeks willing to do this?

    i know with the president degree of dictatorship, many Georgian would appreciate the similarity?

  3. secratea: good point!

    Verbal Alchemy: ha! it was meant to indicate the very opposite. ironically.

    Laila: well let me be clear about the fact that I did not conclude anything. I merely state what has been articulated by the article I linked to. But to answer your question anyway: I’m not a technical expert but I’m guessing that hosting companies know where the hackers are originating from geographically, which is fairly simplistic. You can Foogle “Russian Hackers” for more news highlights. Here’s one from the Associated Press that might help with your question:

    http://ap.google.com/article/ALeqM5gjW72pF7OUXalNlA8ahj-QpbN2HwD92H40O00

    thanks :-)

  4. JS: Interesting! thanks for the link. Hopefully that is the real reasoning behind the omission, although it does seem odd for those three countries to be omitted from that entire region. Nevertheless, interesting! thanks again.

  5. I find it really funny to even suggest that a country like russia needs to rely on google for demographic and geographic information, never mind the dozens of satellites in the skies that are just there for rent …. THEY USED TO OWN THE FREAKING COUNTRY !
    hehe

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