x Abu Dhabi, UAE Friday 21 July 2017

Commander says Google made him invade neighbour

If blaming the internet giant for a bungled military mission is acceptable, what's next?

First it was a noun, then a verb. But "Google" the instigator?

Last week, the Nicaraguan military commander Eden Pastora blamed his invasion of neighbouring Costa Rica on Google's erroneous outline of his country's border. By the time Commander Pastora's troops had crossed the border and removed the Ticos' flag, his Google Maps-inspired assault was an international incident. It may take the UN to restore calm.

The real comedy is that Managua backed their military man, accusing a "bug" in the search engine's system for the misplaced aggression. One would assume a nation's military would double check its data before invading its neighbours. Perhaps not.

Fortunately, no blood was shed because of the incident. Google, to its credit, is playing along, noting that "borders are always changing" and are easily mistaken. The Silicon Valley giant says it's updating its database, and is working to correct the gaffe.

That might come as much-needed comfort to Commander Pastora, and with luck may enable him to retain his post. But if blaming Google Maps for a bungled military mission is acceptable, what's next? Accusing Google of robbing us of our intellect? Our sense of direction? Our common sense? Perhaps Commander Pastora can relate to these ills as well.