Published On: Mon, Jan 13th, 2014
Published in Category: International

Manmohan’s intervention sought to stop Google from mapping defence installations

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NEW DELHI: The Bharatiya Janata Party on Saturday demanded immediate intervention of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to safeguard the country’s security interests, saying that U.S.-based Internet search engine Google had allegedly violated India’s security norms and laws related to mapping by showing the locations of the country’s defence installations and nuclear reactors.

At a press conference here, BJP Rajya Sabha member Tarun Vijay expressed concern that accessing and displaying sensitive data related to military installations and nuclear reactors with precise marking would amount to “facilitating the enemy with actionable intelligence”.

Accusing Google of failing to comply with the norm of taking permission from the ministries of Defence and Home Affairs before displaying any such sensitive data that may jeopardise national security, he demanded that the data available with Google be seized immediately and checked.

Henceforth, any such data to be used by Google should be vetted by the ministries of Defence and Home Affairs, he said.

Vijay also urged the Prime Minister to constitute a Parliamentary committee to look into the issue of whether or not data collection by mapping agencies had violated the Indian security norms and find out the ways and means of making such agencies to follow the norms.

He wondered why only Google was not following the security norms while all other mapping agencies were strictly adhering to them by way of taking permission from the ministries concerned before using the sensitive data for the public.

Pointing out that an FIR had been lodged by the Surveyor-General of India in Delhi against Google for alleged security violations and that the Central Bureau of Investigation too was seized of the matter, Mr. Vijay accused the Centre of dragging its feet on the issue. He demanded that the probe be expedited and action initiated against Google at the earliest.

Hailing the decision of the Election Commission of India to turn down the proposal of Google to have an “electoral look up services for citizens”, he urged the Centre to show similar seriousness in protecting the country’s security interests.

He noted that several countries, including China, had banned such mapping services by Google mainly to protect their security interests.