Taiwan asking Apple to blur satellite images of "secret" military base

A screen shot of Hsinchu City, Taiwan on Apple Maps. Apple

Taiwan is asking Apple to blur a map image of its new $1.4 billion early warning radar station that can detect aircraft and missiles coming from as far as western China.

Defense Ministry spokesman David Lo said Tuesday that Apple should follow its rival Google in using only low-resolution satellite pictures to show sensitive facilities. He acknowledged the military should also try to camouflage them.

Apple released the Apple Maps app with its new mobile operating system iOS 6, which is pre-loaded on the iPhone 5, and works on the iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S. The mobile app has a feature that lets users "flyover" a destination by using satellite imagery.

The satellite picture that can be viewed with iPhones is believed to have been taken a year ago.

Phys.org reports Taiwan's defense ministry reacted after the Liberty Times, a local newspaper, printed the satellite picture and showed a "top-secret long-range radar base" in Hsinchu. Representatives for Taiwanese officials have yet to submit a formal request to Apple, but say they will ask the tech giant to uses lower resolution satellite images.

The 10-story high radar installation built with U.S. technology is expected to go online later this year. It's near the Hsinchu Air Base in northern Taiwan.

Local media say the radar installation can monitor targets, determine their speeds and fire missiles to intercept them.

Apple did not immediately respond to CBS News' request for comment on the matter.

Comments