New Delhi: The
government should book Google for "violating" India's defence
regulations on maps and force the company to surrender its
"illegally stored" data to the Surveyor General of India, BJP MP
Tarun Vijay says.
"Getting every inch of India mapped by illegally inviting people
to send the data for their US-based servers presents a grave
danger to the security and poses a challenge to the Indian state,"
Tarun Vijay told IANS in an interview concerning Google's Mapathon
Mapathon 2013 - which started last month and culminates on March
25 - is an India-wide mapping contest by Google with prizes for
top mappers. Google Maps users from all over the country have been
invited "to help create better maps for India" by adding knowledge
of their neighbourhoods through the Google map maker.
The Bharatiya Janata Party MP said Google had broken the statutory
norms by running a Map India campaign without permission.
"The Mapathon activity by Google Maps is in contravention of the
National Map Policy and map restriction policies issued by the
defence ministry from time to time," he said.
Tarun Vijay said that the Surveyor General of India (SOI) alone
was mandated to undertake "restricted" category survey, mapping
and disseminating India's topographic map database.
The MP, who is also a BJP spokesperson, said the defence ministry
has identified and prepared a list of civil and military Vital
Areas (VAs)/Vital Points (VPs) in consultation with the home
ministry and this was regularly updated.
"From the national security point of view, these VAs/VPs cannot be
shown in the maps/data published in the public domain as Google is
doing," he said.
Calling for tough action, he said Google should be taught to
respect India's laws.
"Restrict them, invoke the relevant law to book a case against
them, interrogate their CEO in India and make them surrender all
data illegally stored to the Survey of India. The law must
prevail, however influential such agencies might be," Tarun Vijay
At the same time, the MP said that Google had done a great service
to mapping the world over and had changed the way people used maps
or located places.
"Still, the Indian state can't be dwarfed by a US-based agency
whose operations are not under our control. People can be
involved, but with the active monitoring by the Survey of India
alone so that the sensitive maps can be identified and kept out of
the public domain," he said.
Asked about his meeting with Defence Minister A.K. Antony earlir
in the week during which he had demanded an inquiry into the
issue, Tarun Vijay said he had been informed after the meeting by
the Survey of India that it had taken up the matter with Google.
He said Survey of India officials had also taken up the issue with
the defence ministry for steps to stop "unauthorised" mapping
Tarun Vijay accused the government of being insenistive to
Google's mapping activities.
"The lethargic attitude is disappointing.The government should
have been the first to promptly register a cognisable offence case
against Google," he said.
Anwering a query, he said Google had not responded to issues
raised by him.
Tarun Vijay said that India's mapping policy was available on
government websites and bookstores and ignorance cannot be an
(Prashant Sood can be contacted at email@example.com)