BJP has asked the Government to book Google for “violating” India’s defense regulations on maps and force the company to surrender its “illegally stored” data to the Surveyor-General of India (SGI). MP, Tarun Vijay of the opposition party said that, “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.”
Google recently launched Mapathon 2013, an India-wide mapping contest urging users to expand the maps by adding information about their neighborhood. Talking about the same Vijay touted that “The Mapathon activity by Google Maps is in contravention of the National Map Policy and map restriction policies issued by the defense ministry from time to time”. He also accused the government of being insensitive to Google’s mapping activities.
The move comes from the opposition party soon after Google’s executive Eric Schmidt urged India to choose an open internet. This is not the first instance when the search engine giant has been attacked by the government. In 2012 Facebook and Google were ordered to remove some controversial content owing to a civil lawsuit. Day by day we are seeing a rise in government’s intervention in users and users data. Last month Kapil Sibal, The Minister for Communications and Information Technology said that India will soon have a ‘Cyber Security Policy’ that will prevent and protect people from fraudulent online scams and schemes.
Twitter’s second Transparency report also gives a glimpse of government’s demand to censor data. Government has always interfered, blocked and curbed views, opinions and statements made by the masses that are remotely related to the government and its decisions. India currently ranks 131st on the Press Freedom Index and I think it will only descend further if the government keeps intervening and suppressing freedom of speech.
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