Internet search giant Google is being investigated by the Delhi Police following a complaint against Google Mapathon 2013, the crowd sourced mapping contest which recently concluded in India.
The Survey of India, a government body mandated with the task of surveying and mapping the country, filed a complaint against Google at the RK Puram police station in Delhi late last month stating that the program conducted by Google was against the country’s National Map Policy and map restrictions policies issued by the defense ministry.
The Mapathon 2013, a crowdsourced mapping contest, was conducted across India during Feb 12, 2013 ? Mar 25, 2013 with a theme “to help create better maps for India.” This program, conducted by Google Maps, was an online mapping contest which intended to add more locations such as schools, monuments, parks, restaurants, other public amenities and recreational spots from your locality, all across India.
Earlier last week, BJP spokesperson Tarun Vijay had raised the party’s objections to the program citing security issues and policy violations. The party spokesperson said
“Disregarding laws on security and mapping, Google has made access to institutions such as the Lok Sabha and different defense establishments public. Even the Survey of India doesn’t have the right to do so. Such maps are made only for special purposes.”
He also alleged that Google is a ‘serial offender’ and said “Google showed Kashmir as a part of Pakistan and Arunachal as a part of China on Google maps.”
The Arunachal Pradesh mapping incident had got them in trouble with the government.
Google has had many run ins with the Indian government in the past. The government had asked Google to remove high-resolution satellite imagery, available freely on the internet, of important government establishments like the Parliament and Rashtrapati Bhavan, along with other defence and nuclear installations. Many countries in the past have the questioned Google for making high resolution images of sensitive installations freely available over the internet through services such as Google Maps and Google Earth.
Google had previously kicked off its street mapping program called ‘Google Street View’ in Bangalore, but the project immediately hit a roadblock with the Bangalore Police Department objecting to project, stating that Google did not have the required permissions and clearance for the Government and Ministry of Defence. In the US, the government had banned Google Street View from covering locations around military and government installations and buildings.
Google is also in the middle of a legal battle with the Income Tax department in India. Last year the Income Tax department alleged that Google had transferred revenues out of the country to lower tax countries like Ireland to avoid taxes in India. Google is contesting the tax departments claims.