Google Maps Faces Changes in India

Google Maps Faces Changes in India
With India's proposed Geospatial Information Regulation Bill, Google and others may need a license to offer maps.

(CCM) — According to new reports, companies like Google that offer maps, as well as services that use them like Uber, may soon run into some trouble in India. A new proposal from the Home Ministry wants to ensure that no one is offering maps online without first getting a license from the government. If this becomes law, anyone who creates maps "incorrectly" can be fined between Rs 10 million to 1 billion, or face imprisonment for up to seven years. All maps must be approved by a special government-appointed security vetting authority; any maps not approved could face fines, including existing maps. Companies must apply for licenses within one year from the date the proposal becomes an Act. This is just a draft, but the NDA government hopes to introduce it in Parliament soon. The Home Ministry is taking comments and suggestions on the draft bill for the next 30 days.

While this proposal may seem drastic, it was made in an effort to stop the spread of maps that misrepresent India's borders. The Indian government criticized Google for misrepresenting its borders on several occasions over the past few years. In February, the Indian government accused the company of displaying high-resolution images of sensitive defense organizations, nuclear power plants, and more on Google Earth and Maps. This criticism came shortly after a terrorist attack on the Pathankot air base. Google has not yet commented on the Geospatial Information Regulation Bill's proposal.

Photo: © iStock.