CBI has registered a preliminary enquiry (PE) against Google over Mapathon 2013, organised in February-March 2013. The internet giant has been accused of violating laws by mapping sensitive areas and defence installations, prohibited by Indian law.
The CBI has registered the PE based on a complaint filed by Surveyor General of India’s office to the Union Home Ministry, where Google was accused of mapping several areas which were not included in the maps of the country. The internet giant had not taken permission from Survey of India before organising a mapping competition in February-March 2013 when they asked citizens to map their neighbourhoods, including details related to hospitals and restaurants.
Google has come under the government scanner for the Mapathon 2013 and the complaint was first received on March 25th last year. Delhi Police had planned to conduct a probe into the allegations before filling an FIR against the internet giant. BJP's MP Tarun Vijay had also raised the issue of Google violating India's defence rules on mapping in its Mapathon 2013 contest. He added that the campaign posed a serious threat to India's national security.
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".
Responding to queries, Google India said, "We are in touch with relevant authorities and take national regulations and security very seriously. We are not aware of any privacy issues and have nothing more to share at this point in time."
Earlier this month Google has announced support for Maps in Hindi to cater to Hindi speakers in India. The option has been launched for popular places of interest as well as for turn-by-turn text navigation. According to reports the internet giant is also planning to launch voice based navigation prompts in Hindi soon.
Google recently started testing a new dedicated 'Explore Nearby' button that will give users details about their current location, weather conditions and nearby places of interest. The app shows places of interest for different times of the day including Evening, Night and Late Night, users also have an option to see an 'Anytime' feature that shows all the possible options at once.