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[liberationtech] China cracks down on online mapping

Kevin Donovan kdonovan11 at
Mon Mar 21 21:41:47 PDT 2011

China has launched a nationwide campaign to eliminate illegal online mapping
services, according to the country's mapping watchdog on Monday.

Administered by a coordinating board made up of 13 ministry-level agencies
headed by the State Bureau of Surveying and Mapping, the campaign is
expected to address illegal practices in China's mapping industry.

On Internet mapping alone, over one thousand violations had been recorded
since 2008, an unidentified official with the Bureau told the Legal Daily on

Major violations include unauthorized disclosure of confidential information
on the maps and mistakes in drawing the country's border, especially on
islands and coastal areas, said the official.

The official attributed the situation to the public's inadequate awareness
of national security, the industry's heavy reliance on foreign satellite
images and absence of profound supervision policies or technologies.

The Bureau had detected over 14,000 websites providing mapping services and
the sector's total revenue was estimated to have reached 3 billion yuan
(about 457 million U.S. dollars) by 2012, according to the report.

The Bureau urged resolute punishment for serious violations such as closing
websites, unapproved publications being pulled off of shelves and the
destruction of maps with major mistakes.

China introduced a new licensing system for Internet mapping services last
May and required all existing providers to acquire a license before the end
of this month.

As of mid-February, licenses had been granted to 105 websites across the
country, including Baidu, Sina, Nokia and China Mobile.

Kevin Donovan
Georgetown '11: SFS
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