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Google Maps Shows Edward Snowden In The White House
A sign that the whistleblower and President Obama are talking? No. Ironically, it's likely due to a security failure with how Google monitors local listings.
Where’s Edward Snowden these days? According to Google Maps, not in Russia but instead residing in the White House, within “Edwards Snow Den.”
The location, which Google Maps classifies as a snowboard shop, even has five reviews including one that says it’s a “great source of classified information.”
While it’s not hard to add something to Google Maps, far harder is to add it in a way that it is verified to a particular address. As shown above, that’s what’s happening here — Edwards Snow Den is a verified place, according to Google.
Calls to the Seattle number listed for this “business” go unanswered. Clicking to the Street View photography of the location brings up an interior of the White House.
Another odd listing also appears within the West Wing of the White House, this for “cCross law firm,” with a link that leads to an animated, musical page for what might be a legal firm in Japan.
We’re checking with Google about the listings; more if we hear back. Thanks to David Gaxiola who spotted this and passed on the tip to us.
Postscript (8:30pm): Google says that a user gamed its system by altering a verified Google business description after it was live on Google Maps. It said the vast majority of edits are positive in nature but a few bad actors do get through. It said this listing has now been removed, though it’s still showing up for me, at the moment. No doubt it will disappear shortly.
Postscript 2: Please see our follow-up story, How A Long-Standing Google Maps Loophole Let This Man Put Edward Snowden In The White House.