South Korea denies Google's request for map data, citing security concerns

Jake Joo, Nov. 18, 2016, 9:38 a.m.


South Korea decided Friday not to allow Google Inc. to take government-supplied map data outside the country, citing possible security breaches.

The Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport, which supervises mapping policy, announced the decision after a meeting with officials from the foreign, defense and other-related ministries.

"There are security concerns amid the confrontation between the South and the North," the ministry said. "(The ministry) suggested Google come up with supplementary measures to relieve security concerns, but Google did not accept this."

The Seoul government had said it might allow Google to use the government-supplied maps if it deleted or blurred sensitive and military facilities, including the presidential office Cheong Wa Dae.

Google reportedly did not accept the request, citing the company policy only to provide the best quality service.

Google first launched its basic map service in South Korea in 2008 but has failed to offer full-fledged service, including 3-D maps and driving directions.

Google first sought approval from the Seoul government in 2010 to store South Korean map data in its foreign servers, such as in Singapore and the United States.

The request was rejected by the government due to South Korea's National Security Law, drafted more than a half century ago to fight communism, that bans the South Korean government from sending such map data to other countries.

The tech giant currently offers only 20 percent of the total service in South Korea, one of the world's most wired nations. (Yonhap)

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