The European Union is making a great effort to control what their citizens view on the web by, among other legalities, ordering search engines to “forget” selected pieces of data. But that is not at all the most absurd recent attempt at censorship.
The government of India wants to control geography.
Specifically, a proposed law in that country would “ban maps or satellite images of the country unless they are approved by government”.
The bill bans all types of geospatial information, maps, raw data or photographs, acquired by any means, including satellite photography.
Offenders could be fined up to 1bn rupees (£10.4m). [around $15m USD]
It also requires anyone who has already gathered such information to apply for a licence to keep it.
It was designed to regulate both the creation and distribution of geospatial information in India “which is likely to affect the security, sovereignty and integrity” of the country, the Ministry of Home Affairs said.
Google Maps already provides very different information for certain regions of the world, including the long disputed border between India and Pakistan. But the government judging the “truth” of photographs and raw data takes this particular overreach to a whole new level.
And it probably won’t be long before India follows France’s lead and directs Google and other providers of geospatial information to only show their view of the world to everyone on the planet.