Google Mapathon 2013 which is Google’s community based mapping venture has run into a controversy – A leader of the opposition party in India, Mr. Tarun Vijay of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) said ” Their maps have locations marked as Rajya Sabha, Sena Bhawan, Lok Sabha, Naval Dock Yard and various ministries. It is shocking how such a grave violation has not caught the eyes of the government and no action has been stipulated against Google in India”
According to Mr. Tarun Vijay, India’s National Mapping Policy (2005) allows only the Survey of India (India’s Survey Organization) to prepare maps with the National Remote Sensing Centre. Google’s latest act is then a violation of Indian Defence regulations which clearer stipulate that defense and national establishments cannot be mapped by other organizations like Google.
Mr. Vijay’s contention being that these maps could be used by terrorists as Google Earth provides free internet satellite pictures with no control to prevent misuse or limit access to sensitive places such as Bhabha Atomic Research Centre, Naval dockyards, nuclear and oil establishments and Rashtrapati Bhavan.
We live in a digital world and although Google might have violated Indian laws here, it will be very difficult to control the use of such information by anti-peace loving organizations in places where such “country-specific” rules and data blockage might not apply.
In an age where satellite imagery gives detailed information regarding the layout of strategic building and establishments such laws might not be the best way to defend against attacks by anti-peace loving organizations.
What’s your take? Let us know!