Airport maps with restricted areas mistakenly go online

Kyodo

Detailed maps of two major Japanese airports, including restricted areas, were mistakenly made available to general users of the Google Groups free mail-sharing service, transport ministry officials said Friday.

The Japanese unit of U.S. search engine giant Google Inc. inadvertently shared maps of New Chitose airport, near Sapporo, and Central Japan International Airport (Centrair), near Nagoya, the officials said.

Google admitted making the mistake after receiving the maps from the operators of the two airports for its online map service.

“Restricted areas have been strictly guarded, so we don’t see any risk of immediate abuse,” said Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism Minister Akihiro Ota.

But the ministry called on other domestic airports to manage their security data better, saying a failure could give important information to terrorists.

Last July, a mailing list set up by the Environment Ministry was found to be publicly accessible, allowing anyone to read internal email on Japan’s international negotiations on a treaty to regulate mercury trading.

While the ministry deleted all of the 66 email messages shared by the officials in January 2013 on Google’s free mailing list, it remains unknown whether anyone actually viewed them.

The email included summaries of Japan’s bilateral talks with Switzerland and Norway