India's national investigator may probe Google as map saga escalates

Summary:Delhi Police have escalated a complaint about Google India's alleged breach of local mapping laws, which could see the company's activities scrutinized by the Central Bureau of Investigation.

India's Central Bureau of Investigation may probe Google over claims its mapping competition breached local laws.
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Google India's map saga over security concerns escalates to national level.

On April 20, Indian member of parliament Tarun Vijay wrote that Delhi Police Commissioner Neeraj Kumar recommended the CBI's cybercell investigate whether a Google India competition exposed sensitive information.

Initially, the government's cartographer Survey of India (SOI) filed  the complaint with Delhi Police. However, Vijay said that Commissioner Kumar referred this to the national police, because the activities in question extend beyond Delhi state.

Vijay also raised the issue in parliament to stimulate a government response. "Google's arrogance has publicly identified Air Force stations, ammunition depots, and the positions of fighter planes, making it possible to compare their location changes on the time line," Vijay wrote on his blog.
 
 "Google's arrogance has publicly identified Air Force stations, ammunition depots, and the positions of fighter planes, making it possible to compare their location changes on the time line,"

Tarun Vijay
Indian member of parliament
In a statement issued earlier this month, a Google spokesperson said the application, and its use in February's Mapathon contest , complied with all applicable laws.
 
The search engine giant also said it briefed the Ministry of Science and Technology and the Survey General of India.
 
However, in a letter sent on April 17, SOI accused Google of lying about meeting the cartographer's Delhi-based surveyor general.
 
"You have stated that you had a discussion with him, which is false. In fact, neither you nor any of your representatives have met [him]," Vijay quoted the SOI letter on his blog.
 
"In matters of national security any responsible citizen or agency takes necessary corrective action as suggested by the Government of India agency immediately. Your continued activities with implications leading to compromise of National Security are objectionable and could amount to serious offence."
 
Google previously said its outreach was rebuffed by SOI .
 
"The Survey of India (SOI) contacted Google regarding the Mapathon contest on March 22, and--as requested by them--we responded to them on March 25 and offered to meet them to discuss their concerns," the spokesperson said in an e-mailed statement.
 
"We take security and national regulations very seriously," said the spokesperson. "We have not heard back from them further, and are always available to discuss any concerns that they or other agencies might have regarding our programmes."
 
At the time of publication, Google had not responded to requests for comment on the latest allegations.

Topics: Security, Google, India, Privacy

About

Mahesh Sharma earned his pen licence in his homeland, where he covered the technology industry for ZDNet, SMH, Sky Business News, and The Australian--first as an FTE, and later as a freelancer. The latter fueled his passion for startups and empowered a unique perspective on entrepreneurs' passion to solve problems using technology. Armed... Full Bio

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