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HindustanTimes Sun,13 Jul 2014

Mapathon: Action on Google sought

Aloke Tikku , Hindustan Times  New Delhi, August 26, 2013
First Published: 02:03 IST(26/8/2013) | Last Updated: 03:11 IST(26/8/2013)

Internet giant Google may still not be off the hook over the Mapathon 2013.

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The Survey of India – India's official mapping agency – has asked the home ministry to act against Google for jeopardising the national security through a competition that asked people to identify locations on Google maps.

The SoI had complained to Delhi Police in March about Mapathon 2013 violating Indian mapping policy and law, expressing concern that Google's India arm could gather and put out data about sensitive locations.

But the police are yet to register a formal case against Google, prompting SoI's missive.

"There has been a violation of the policy and law which impacts the country's security. We have brought it to the attention of the government agency concerned. Now, it is for the home ministry to examine the issue and take action," said Major General RC  Padhi, who was till recently Additional Surveyor General of India, who wrote to the ministry.

The controversy
Beginning February 12, 2013, Google's Mapathon asked netizens to identify locations and the company promised prizes – tablets, smart phones and T-shirts – for the 1,000 best entries. The SoI woke up to the violations in mid-March.

The concern
Besides the violation, the Surveyor General's office was concerned that netizens could identify secret and high security premises without realising the security fallout.

What next
In a message on its website, Google's Mapathon team announced an indefinite delay in announcing the results. The SoI wanted to review the data added during the Mapathon to ensure it doesn't reveal sensitive information, it said.


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