Apple Maps accidentally reveals highly sensitive Taiwanese radar installation

The ultra-high-frequency radar can detect missiles being launched from nearly anywhere in mainland China, report claims

Taiwanese defense officials will ask Apple to blur satellite imagery of a previously unknown radar facility meant to provide early warning in case of a missile attack from mainland China, after the installation was accidentally outted on Apple's new Maps app.

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According to a report from Agence France-Presse, Taiwan Ministry of Defense spokesman David Lo said that, although the government has no legal recourse against commercial satellite pictures, a request to blur out details of the facility at Hsinchu, in the northwestern part of the country would be forthcoming.

"We'll ask Apple to lower the resolution of satellite images of some confidential military establishments the way we've asked Google in the past," he said, according to AFP.

The report said that the facility houses an ultra-high-frequency radar - made by U.S. contractor Raytheon - that can detect missiles being launched from nearly anywhere in mainland China.

The incident is the latest in an embarrassing series of missteps for Apple Maps, which has garnered less-than-inspiring reviews since it launched on the iPhone 5 in September. Reports of incorrect directions and puzzling omissions have been common. CEO Tim Cook recently apologized for the problems with Maps in an open letter:

"We are extremely sorry for the frustration this has caused our customers and we are doing everything we can to make Maps better," he wrote, adding that users should try out competitors like MapQuest and Bing in the meantime.

Meanwhile, Google has stated that there are no current plans to update Google Maps for the iOS 6 platform.

Email Jon Gold at jgold@nww.com and follow him on Twitter at @NWWJonGold.

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Jon Gold

Network World
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