China clamping down on illegal online maps

Country's mapping bureau gets serious with eliminating illegal online mapping services, noting that over 1,000 violations have been identified since 2008, reports say.
Written by Liau Yun Qing, Contributor

China has reportedly stepped up efforts to eliminate illegal online mapping services, with the country's mapping bureau calling for punishment to be meted out to violators, according to local report.

State media Xinhua on Monday reported that the State Bureau of Surveying and Mapping is working with 13 governmental agencies in a nationwide campaign to crack down on illegal online mapping services.

Citing an official from the bureau, the report noted that in online mapping alone, over a thousand violations had been recorded since 2008. The government official said major violations included "unauthorized disclosure of confidential information on the maps, and mistakes in drawing the country's border, especially on islands and coastal areas".

According to Xinhua, the mapping bureau is pushing for "resolute punishments" for serious violations including shutting down Web sites, withdrawing unapproved publications from sale and initiating the destruction of maps that contain major mistakes.

China's online mapping services are expected to generate revenues reaching 3 billion yuan (US$457 million) by 2012, the report revealed.

The country in May last year implemented a new legislation requiring online maps providers to have licenses in order to operate legally. These companies have until the end of this month to acquire their license, said the report.

According to Xinhua, as of mid-February, 105 Web sites including Baidu, Sina, Nokia and China Mobile have received licenses.

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