Monday, 8 April 2013

Indian police investigating Google mapping contest

Police in India are investigating to determine whether U.S. Internet company Google Inc violated rules in a competition that asked users to add information about their local areas for its online map services after a government agency raised security concerns.

Google, which ran the "Mapathon" in India in February and March, said its aim was to make more local information accessible to all and that it did not break any laws.
Police are acting on a complaint filed by Survey of India, the country's national survey and mapping agency, which said the contest was illegal and may threaten national security.

"One complaint has been received and we are forwarding it to the cybercell for further action," said Chhaya Sharma, a deputy commissioner of police in New Delhi.

Google officials said the company had not yet received an official communication from the police.

Google invited users to help "create better maps for India" by adding knowledge of their neighborhoods and promised the top 1,000 mappers prizes of tablets, smartphones and gift vouchers.

Survey of India first wrote to Google saying its "Mapathon" was against rules and then filed a police complaint, R.C. Padhi, a top official at the agency, told Reuters.

"We have to ensure that security is not compromised at any cost," Padhi said, adding that some information uploaded on Google Maps could be "sensitive".

Google is open to discussing specific concerns over the issue with public authorities in India, Paroma Roy Chowdhury, a company spokeswoman in India said in a statement.

"Google takes security and national regulations very seriously, and the Mapathon adhered to applicable laws," Roy Chowdhury said.

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