A little over a week ago we reported that Apple’s Maps had seemingly outed a secret Taiwan military base which we assume did not sit well with the Taiwanese government. Now it seems that according to reports, China has stepped up the policing of “illegal maps” which has been defined (via Xinhua Tuesday) as unauthorized maps that mistakes how the country’s borders are drawn, missing geographical features, and maps that reveal confidential information (or locations, if you’d rather). We’re not sure if this is in light of the recent incident with Apple Maps or if it is merely a coincidence, but it will be interesting to see how China goes about policing these “illegal maps”.
According to an unnamed official, mobile devices that sport these “illegal maps” will be detained and transferred to local bureaus of the National Administration of Surveying, Mapping and Geoinformation (NASMG) for further investigation. According to the NASMG, many internet-based maps are considered “illegal” which prompted the tightening of security. Local carriers have also been asked to cooperate with the NASMG to oversee mobile devices on their network which might try to access these “illegal” maps, and that mobile devices that do not provide proper maps could lead to these carriers having their licenses revoked.
It is unclear as to what sort of penalties users of these maps could face, or if Apple’s Maps or Google Maps could be up for inspection. Given that China has not Google much access or freedom into their country, could this be another way for China to further limit Google’s presence in the country?