"Much of Sydney's CBD as it appears in the satellite images on Google Maps Australia has been fuzzed out, just weeks before the APEC summit.
Google says the imagery was downgraded as a result of a "commercial issue" with a supplier, but the move has aroused speculation it was done at the request of police in order to minimise the risk of a terrorist attack during the September summit, where Sydney will play host to 21 world leaders including U.S. President George W. Bush.Google has in the past been accused of censoring its maps
due to national security concerns by governments, most recently in June when it updated its maps of Washington D.C. but maintained older, blurry images for most of the downtown area.
Users of Google Maps Australia could previously zoom in for satellite views as close as 25m above the ground in much of Sydney, but now maps of the CBD are blurry even when zoomed out to 300m.
Where users could once make out individual people, tree branches and garbage bin lids they can now only view vague outlines of objects.
Curiously, the high-resolution satellite images, which were introduced as part of a Google Maps Australia upgrade earlier this year, appear to have been rolled back to lower quality versions for the Sydney CBD only, and not for suburbs like Bondi Beach and Point Piper."