Is Google Maps a ‘security threat’ to India's sovereignty, Delhi High Court asks government
- Google Maps intricate detail and accurate images might be a ‘security threat’ to India.
Delhi High Courthas asked the central government to look into the issue and assess whether Google’s mapping services in the country should be restricted.
- Google Earth services reportedly shows all of India’s defence bases and other critical information.
It’s one of the most popular apps in the world with over a billion users and the same features benefit ordinary users can also be used by criminals or terrorists to plan their activities, according the public interest litigation filed by Kisalya Shukla, an advocate.
The PIL states that India’s defence bases and other critical information is available through Google Earth services — the mapping mechanism behind Google Maps — in ‘violation of India’s sovereignty’.
The two judge bench of Chief Justice DN Patel and Justice C Hari Shankar have asked the central government to look into the issue and decide whether or not Google should be allowed to continue posting maps on India online.
Google accuracy could be its undoing
Google Earth services, that powers Google’s mapping applications, is an open source image data source — that means anyone can use it and it’s free.
The company collects data through road sensors, transport departments and even user contributions through Map Maker in addition to the satellite images it has already collected.
The resulting maps that are seen online can be used to find the fastest route to work or to plan the 26/11 Mumbai attacks, according to police officials.
Late president, APJ Abdul Kalam, also stated that "sensitive areas clearly marked on Google Earth" during a press conference in 2005.
He added that the current laws in the country, and abroad, aren’t sufficient for restricting how these detailed maps are used which make them a security hazard.
‘As an alternative, the PIL filed by Shukla also requested that the Indian government launch India’s indigeous navigation system, NavIC, developed by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) available to the general public.
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