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Parliamentary think tank urges caution against Google's map request

All Headlines 14:58 August 27, 2016

SEOUL, Aug. 27 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's parliamentary research body on Saturday defended the country's restrictions on the use of government-supplied maps abroad against Google's controversial map request.

In a report, the National Assembly Research Service said the government should prudently review the impact to national security.

The U.S. Internet giant has sought permission to take government map data off the peninsula for use in servers worldwide. Google claims that it's necessary to offer full GPS and other mapping services in South Korea.

The government is in a dilemma, sandwiched between calls for deregulation and concerns that the export of map data will harm national security in the country, especially facing North Korea's direct military threats.

Related ministries put off the decision on whether to accept Google's request till late November.

"Map data are important information to heavily affect the competitiveness of South Korea's ICT industry ecosystem and be meaningful as well in terms of national security," Kim Jin-soo and Shim Woo-min, who co-authored the report, said.

Google has requested map data with sensitive installations blurred or camouflaged.

"But the acquisition of detailed information is possible on those installations if it's sent abroad and combined with existing satellite imagery," they pointed out.

It's not appropriate to unconditionally dismiss the local ICT-related regulations as "outdated," they added.


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