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Google mapping issue to be raised in Indian parliament


09:28, April 07, 2013

NEW DELHI, April 6 (Xinhua) -- An Indian lawmaker said Saturday that he will raise the issue of alleged illegal mapping of India by Internet search giant Google this month in the Indian parliament, as the company's action is threatening India's national security.

Tarun Vijay, Member of Parliament at Rajya Sabha, or Upper House of Parliament of India, said a lot of highly sensitive installations have been included in Google's mapping of India, such as air force bases and navy bases.

"Google has not complied with the existing mapping policy of India, which restricts publishing of any annotation or point of interest without getting it vetted by the agencies designated for the purpose," he said.

"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, a member of the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

The images collected and displayed by Google include Mig fighters, Jaguars and blast pens, which can be targets of missile attacks or terrorist attacks, he said.

Vijay said these images of defense installations and other sensitive spots cannot be seen or deciphered through satellite images. Therefore, there must have been people on the ground who have identified these annotations for Google.

The lawmaker said he sent questions to Google last month on its mapping activities, but so far the company has not answered "one single of these questions," he said.

Vijay, who is also the national spokesman of the BJP, said he has raised the issue with Indian Defense Minister AK Antony.

Meanwhile, the Survey General of India, a government agency charged of mapping India, has also raised the issue with Google and reported to the relevant Indian authorities about the alleged violations of laws by Google in India.

Vijay pointed out that Google collected annotations or point of interest in India through the process of "crowd sourcing", and the company required its users to accept its own corporate policy before marking or putting annotations, which stated that those who put the data will be liable for any violation of the Indian law.

"Many of us who participate in such process do not bother to read the 'policy', before clicking the 'I Agree' button," he said.

"In the process Google is also defeating its very own brigade of enthusiasts by not explicitly telling them that they will be liable for any breach of law. Further, whatever the internal policy of Google may be, it is always the publishers of the content that will be responsible," he added.

The lawmaker said one Indian citizen has provided about 93,000 locations to Google, simply out of wish to seek his own fame in social media network.

While Google thinks it is above the law, other companies like MapmyIndia and global navigation map MNC like Nokia and Navteq have all followed domestic regulations, the lawmaker said.

This is not the first time for Indian politicians to raise the issue of Google illegally mapping India.

In September 2005, former Indian President Abdul Kalam highlighted violations by Google and expressed concerns that unrestricted pictures of sensitive locations in India on Google Earth could have worrisome implications.

In June 2011, Indian police blocked Google from taking Street View images in the southern city of Bangalore, despite Google's promise of avoiding security concerns.

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