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Delhi Police launches probe into Google’s map contest

New Delhi, Apr. 4 (ANI): In what could be a serious problem for Google, the most used search engine on the World Wide Web, Delhi Police has begun a probe into its map contest held in February-March this year following a formal complaint by the Survey of India.

The Survey of India in its complaint filed at the RK Puram police station on March 25, 2013, wrote: “Mapathon 2013 activity is likely to jeopardise national security interest and violates the National Map Policy. Citizens of the country, who are ignorant of the legal consequences, are likely to violate the law of the land.”

‘Google had launched the Mapathon contest between February 12 and March 25, asking Indians to map their neighbourhoods and send their maps so that they can be uploaded in the search engine’s sites. Google had also said it would reward the top 1,000 participants, The Hindu reports.

The Additional Surveyor-General of India, R.C. Padhi, in a letter to Google’s India office on March 21, asked the U.S.-based Internet company to stop the activity which was against “India’s policy guidelines.”

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 Survey of India noted that the “Ministry of Defence has identified and prepared a list of civil and military vital areas (VAs)/vital points (VPs) in consultation with the Ministry of Home Affairs, which is regularly updated.

The mapping organisation also pointed out that in the terms of services, Google said individuals will be solely responsible for submission and the consequences of posting or publishing the contents.

Hinting that the mapping exercise could unknowingly land Indians in trouble as they might map restricted areas, it said, “Most of the individuals posting the information may not be aware of the security and legal implications of populating geographic information in [this] exercise.”

A Google spokesperson, however, clarified the issue, and told the leading English newspaper that the idea behind the Mapathon contest was to make local information accessible to every Indian – such as health providers, emergency services, eating places, and educational institutions. (ANI)

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