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How India’s ridiculous draft mapping data law will impact you (and your business)

In what is a regressive and a remarkably myopic instance of policy making - and right up there in the Daft Government Policy Hall of Fame* along with the Draft Encryption Policy and the Insurance Web Aggregator policy - the Ministry of Home Affairs has released a draft "The Geospatial Information Regulation Bill, 2016" which will make addition of map related information or creation of even maps and sharing of location and map related data illegal without a license. The bill (download), thankfully still in a draft stage, bans the acquisition of map-related (geospatial) imagery or data without a license or security clearance. Geospatial information refers to information referenced to a co-ordinate system, including: "graphical or digital data" depicting "natural or man-made physical features, phenomenon or boundaries of the earth" or any information related to that including "surveys, charts, maps, terrestrial photos." "either imagery or data acquired through aerial or space platforms" (satellites, aircrafts, drones etc) Who will this impact? Since the information has to be vetted by a security agency, it appears that no realtime map information shall be allowed. Apart from the usual suspects: Google Maps, OpenStreetMap and, well, Bing Maps, who else does this policy impact? Some examples: Ola and Uber, which plot on a map the location of a taxi cab (man-made physical feature/phenomenon) for a customer and a customer (natural phenomenon) for a taxi cab driver. Ecommerce delivery service providers who plot packages (man-made physical feature) on a map. Whatsapp, which allows you (natural phenomenon) to send your location to your friend.…

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Written By

Founder @ MediaNama. TED Fellow. Asia21 Fellow @ Asia Society. Co-founder SaveTheInternet.in and Internet Freedom Foundation. Advisory board @ CyberBRICS

MediaNama’s mission is to help build a digital ecosystem which is open, fair, global and competitive.

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