Google Mapathon Poses National Security Risk: Issue to Be Raised in Indian Parliament

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Search giants Google recently hosted a contest in India, where volunteers could make contributions to Google Maps and win prizes. The Survey of India - the country's national survey and mapping agency, raised a complaint, saying this contest was illegal and may threaten national security, urging the police to investigate.

"One complaint has been received and we are forwarding it to the cybercell for further action," said Chhaya Sharma, a deputy commissioner of police in New Delhi.

Google Mapathon Issue to Be Raised In Indian Parliament

Google's contest, intended to create better maps for India, invited contestants to add knowledge about neighborhoods. The 1,000 contributors would win gift vouchers.

R C Padhi a top official of The Survey of India said Google's contest "Mapathon", was going against he national Mapping Policy 2005 and map restriction policies issued by the defense ministry. He added that the such activities may threaten national security, in case information about sensitive areas is uploaded on Google Map.

Tarun Vijay, Member of Parliament at Rajya Sabha has said that Google's mapping of India includes information of various sensitive installations in the country.

"I am going to raise the issue of India's mapping policy, the relevant laws and Google's violations in the next sitting of the Parliament beginning 22th April," said Vijay.


Google's spokesperson, Paroma Roy Chowdhury said "Mapathon is a user-initiative to map new destinations and areas of public interest. It generated a huge response. We mapped 82,000 restaurants, 42,000 places of worship and 32,000 health centres and hospitals,"

We have no intent or desire to compromise national security. We steer clear of all sensitive installations. All our mapping activities follow guidelines and applicable laws," she added

Last month, Google pay $7 million in the US to settle an investigation over an incident, where the company's Street View mapping cars allegedly collected Wi-Fi data from home wireless networks, including passwords and other personal data.

Source: India Times People's Daily

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