China issues new rules on Internet map publishing   2010-05-19 09:03:17 FeedbackPrintRSS

The website was reportedly linked to the server of a foreign map website, where users can scan high-definition satellite pictures worldwide free of charge and mark the location or relevant information of a military site on it.

Satellite pictures cannot be called electronic maps because no coordinates are marked, but in this case, when users marked coordinates of military sites, it can reveal state secrets, experts said.

In another website called Godeyes, a well-known portal based on Google Earth with 440,000 registered users, people can pilot virtual planes from Nanning, capital of the Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region, to Beijing.

China has about 42,000 Internet map websites and as the number grows, more cases of information leakage reportedly occur.

Anyone who violates the State Secrets Law or reveals State secrets can be jailed up to seven years, or up to 10 years if the crime involves military secrets.

Many analysts said the new regulation will impact Internet map servers significantly.

Edward Yu, president of Analysys International, said the issue will involve balance or competition between the government and Internet map servers.

Workers from online search engine Google and communications giant Nokia said they have not heard of the regulation and have no comments on its impact.

"If it's about natural fields rather than cities, satellite mapping information can be sensitive and State secrets such as military bases may be exposed," said Chu Xiaowen, assistant professor of the department of computer science in Baptist University in Hong Kong.

"That's quite normal for any country. No one would agree to put its own map information in other countries," said Li Zhilin, professor of the department of land surveying and geo-informatics at Polytechnic University of Hong Kong.

(Source: China Daily)

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Editor: Wang Guanqun
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