Google Inc. (NASDAQ:GOOG) has been finding itself in all kinds of rows around the world – any more rows, and the company will have rowed gently across stream, merrily, merrily, merrily … but this life is not a dream. The company, which has very heavy international penetration with its search and mapping features, has consistently found itself in all kinds of disputes over data compilation, Wi-fi intercepts, antitrust charges and privacy and security concerns. This latest one though, if it has any legitimacy, might be damaging in its own right, considering this is in a large emerging market which is one of the new battlegrounds for tech companies.
Police in India are following up on a charge that Google Inc. (NASDAQ:GOOG) broke rules and breached national security in India over its “mapathon,” recently, which asked for local volunteers to supply information that would enhance Google’s mapping services in the country. Survey of India, the country’s national surveying and mapping agency, filed a complaint saying that the “mapathon” contest was illegal and might have jeopardized national security.
“One complaint has been received and we are forwarding it to the cybercell for further action,” said Chhaya Sharma, a police deputy commissioner. Google Inc. (NASDAQ:GOOG), for its part, says it has not yet received any official communication from the police regarding the complaint. Survey of India claimed that it sent a letter to Google warning it that “mapathon” was against the rules before filing the complaint.
“We have to ensure that security is not compromised at any cost,” said R.C. Padhi, a leading official at Survey of India. This latest dispute involves the collection of data for the Google Inc. (NASDAQ:GOOG) mapping project, which some claim might involve information deemed “sensitive” for national security. Google had a run-in in 2011 with the city of Bangalore in India over this same concern when Google was mapping that city in detail.
Even members of the political process are getting involved. What might they say or do?