The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has ordered for a preliminary enquiry (PE) against Google for violating Indian laws by mapping sensitive areas and defence installations in the country.
As per the PE, registered on the basis of a complaint made by Surveyor General of India’s office to the Union Home Ministry, Google has been accused of organizing a mapping competition dubbed ‘Mapathon’ in February-March 2013 without taking prior permission from Survey of India, country’s official mapping agency. The mapping competition required citizens to map their neighbourhoods, especially details related to hospitals and restaurants.
The Survey of India (SoI), alarmed by the event, asked the company to share its event details. While going through the details the watch dog found that there were several coordinates having details of sensitive defence installations which are out of the public domain.
The SoI, highlighting the violations to the Home Ministry, claimed that as per the National 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.”
The watch dog said that it is solely authorized to undertake ‘Restricted’ category surveying and mapping, and that no other government or private organisations or individual have the right to do so.
In response to the enquiry, Google India said that it is constantly in touch with the relevant authorities and that the company takes national regulations and security very seriously. The company, noting that it was not aware of any privacy issues, said that it currently has nothing more to share as of now.