You are here: Home » Current Affairs » News » National
Business Standard

Google mapping comes under CBI lens

Google had not taken permission from Survey of India before organising a mapping competition in Feb-March 2013

Press Trust of India  |  New Delhi 

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has registered a Preliminary Enquiry (PE) against internet giant Google over Mapathon 2013, an event organised by the US company, for allegedly violating laws by mapping sensitive areas and defence installations, prohibited under law.

CBI registered the inquiry based on a complaint filed by the Surveyor General of India’s office to the home ministry, in which Google has been accused of indulging in activities of mapping areas not included in the maps of the country, official sources said here.

The internet giant had not taken permission from Survey of India (SoI), the country’s official mapping agency, before organising a competition in February-March 2013 when they asked citizens to map their neighbourhoods, especially details related to hospitals and restaurants.

Alarmed by Mapathon, the SoI asked the internet giant to share details on where they found several coordinates having details of sensitive defence installations which are out of the public domain.

Highlighting the violations to the home ministry, SoI said only it was mandated to undertake “Restricted”, category surveying and mapping, and no other government or private organisations or individuals were authorised to do so.

According to the Map Policy 2005, “The responsibility for producing, maintaining and disseminating the topographic map database of the whole country, which is the foundation of all spatial data, vests with the Survey of India.”

Responding to queries, Google India said, “We are in touch with relevant authorities and take regulations and security very seriously. We are not aware of any privacy issues and have nothing more to share at this point in time.”

After an initial probe by Delhi Police, the case was handed to CBI, as investigations required access to places across the country and, if need be, questioning of some individuals with the help of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, as Google is incorporated in the US.

It was alleged that Google India had launched a nationwide contest and people might have passed on maps and other key details of strategic installations located in other cities and states to the US company, the sources added.

For SoI, it was clarified that the company never took any permission before undertaking the mapping exercise, and from security point of view, civil and military vital areas, vital points cannot be shown in the map/data published in public domain.

CBI might be roping in some Army officials in its probe as some sensitive installations have allegedly been mapped in its services, the sources said.

Dear Reader,

Business Standard has always strived hard to provide up-to-date information and commentary on developments that are of interest to you and have wider political and economic implications for the country and the world. Your encouragement and constant feedback on how to improve our offering have only made our resolve and commitment to these ideals stronger. Even during these difficult times arising out of Covid-19, we continue to remain committed to keeping you informed and updated with credible news, authoritative views and incisive commentary on topical issues of relevance.
We, however, have a request.

As we battle the economic impact of the pandemic, we need your support even more, so that we can continue to offer you more quality content. Our subscription model has seen an encouraging response from many of you, who have subscribed to our online content. More subscription to our online content can only help us achieve the goals of offering you even better and more relevant content. We believe in free, fair and credible journalism. Your support through more subscriptions can help us practise the journalism to which we are committed.

Support quality journalism and subscribe to Business Standard.

Digital Editor

First Published: Mon, July 28 2014. 00:50 IST