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China to Regulate Internet Map Publishing

timothy posted more than 6 years ago | from the emblematic dept.

Censorship 279

hackingbear writes "After text, pictures, and videos, China starts regulating Internet map publishing (here is the google translation.) The government believes that Internet maps can represent the state's sovereignty and its political and diplomatic positions in the international community — and consequently, inaccurate maps could harm national interests and dignity, produce bad political influences, reveal national secrets and harm national security, in addition to harming consumer interests. So from now on, publishing maps would require approval and (yet another) license from the state survey bureau. That means Google, Yahoo, etc., need to remove China from the map; or maybe they just pay up some officials and their agents to acquire yet another license. And our newest 80Gbps DPI monsters need to be upgraded to identify maps together with porn."

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279 comments

...national secrete... (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23390618)

priceless!

Re:...national secrete... (2, Interesting)

aproposofwhat (1019098) | more than 6 years ago | (#23390652)

Alternatively, Google et al could highlight Tibet (imperial pink, perhaps?) and tell Hu Da Fuk and all his friends where to get off.

Anyone who even slightly agrees with this measure is a pawn of the fascists, and would be better off sharing a forum with Gordon Brown and Georgie boy.

Re:...national secrete... (5, Insightful)

cayenne8 (626475) | more than 6 years ago | (#23390842)

I know China is potentially representing a LOT of money. But, at some point, don't we just say "Fuck China"...and all the rules and regulations and monitoring they are wanting to impose on a system that has worked just fine without them for decades?

If they want to wall off themselves from the world, then let them. If they don't want to use what a company from another country is doing, fine just block it if you want to (or can) but, quit bitching about everything we free people do outside your fucking borders.

Re:...national secrete... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23390964)

The only problem I see with that is that China is not a unified machine. The speaking heads are the dictators of people. Some people may agree with the gov't, but based on what knowledge? Understanding? Sure, it's easy to agree with the gov't suggesting that there is a need to impose regulations, when the same gov't is telling its people that they need to do so because all other western nations have problems because they allow this pesky thing called freedom.

In the mean time, I wish my gov't would get off it's lazy ass and start speaking up about Burma. The only time major countries seem to be even semi-serious about another country's lack of freedom, is when that freedom has an ounce of benefit to the complaining party.

They want it both ways (3, Interesting)

denis-The-menace (471988) | more than 6 years ago | (#23391024)

They want to kinda wall themselves from the world but still be part of it.

If we had governments representing people, then the UN would would have told China to where to go a long time ago and China would have become something Cuba could laugh at.

But instead, we have governments representing corporations. (we elect them but the corps control them) To ignore china because of their fascist ways is not good for the corporate bottom line and the CEO's annual bonus. So the corps will bend and jump through hoops until they control China as well. When that happens, we will have become Star Trek's Ferengi race. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ferengi)

Re:They want it both ways (1, Interesting)

OeLeWaPpErKe (412765) | more than 6 years ago | (#23391612)

Oh it's all a large conspiracy. And by whom ? Let's see the jews, weapons merchants ... no ... capitalists, corporations AHA.

Obviously the corporations remain nameless and there are no people involved, at all. Once I point out the people you will start decrying their evil intentions and your purity. Great. We'll get nowhere.

How about instead of blaming "corporations"* (why not "the devil" ? I like the devil. I think we should mention him more often) we start looking at the reality.

China has resources we need if we are to have the standard if living "we" want. (and by we I mean first and foremost you and myself)

So here's the cost of "isolating" china : about 60% of your paycheck. If you also want to isolate the (much) worse middle eastern islamic dictatorships, we're talking 85-90% of your paycheck.

So let's hear your argument. You don't need to blame "corporations", they can do nothing about price. There's a limited supply of goods, and nothing can extend that supply except free enterprise. Currently said free enterprise has allowed U.S. citizens to increase their paychecks about twentyfold of what they would otherwise be.

So, let me ask you : why should I drop half my paycheck (isolating 1 government), or 19/20th of it (isolating all govts that deny human rights for islamic or other reasons).

Would you yourself be prepared to do so ?

The result of walling of China on the U.S. (or western) end would be massive inflation until your paycheck is worth about 60% of what it is now.

Oh and please explain to a lot of people who live at less than 200% sustinence level (not so much in the US, but more than enough elsewhere), why they should die for your "right to be free" ? Are you even prepared to die for it yourself ? Are you, say, a reservist ?

Actions, such as isolating China, have consequences. Clearly the best course of action, judged by the likely results, is *not* isolating china. Judging an action by it's likely consequences is a thorougly christian concept, which is also the only correct way to do it, you may or may not like this, but the real world doesn't care.

China wouldn't collapse if left to it's own devices. More likely it would do what it did in the past under such circumstances : attack.

* let's take the example of oil companies. Shell, Exxonmobil, ... the works. Together they made profits of about $80 billion on about 75 million bbl/day in 2007. This means that a 100% tax on those companies, precluding any investment and creating utter chaos in even the near term, could only "lower" the oil price by ... ... 2.9 dollars/barrel or 2% (you know the price hike of the last, what, 24 hours ?), which would buy us 2 days of extra oil supply ? I doubt even that. These companies are not to blame for oil problems.

Re:...national secrete... (3, Insightful)

gnick (1211984) | more than 6 years ago | (#23391034)

...quit bitching about everything we free people do outside your fucking borders.
I don't remotely support the way China's oppressing their people, but criticizing this move as "outside your fucking borders" is off-base. They're restricting what comes into their country, just like almost every country in the world does. If you live somewhere with no copyright laws, start hosting movies that can be downloaded in the U.S. and see if it goes ignored. The only difference is that China is even more oppressive and aggressive than the MPAA and their goal is to enslave their citizens, not just suck them dry.

Re:...national secrete... (2, Insightful)

postbigbang (761081) | more than 6 years ago | (#23391108)

The Chinese, like the Americans, have sovereignity over their borders. That Americans (I'm one) wait for the Google truck to moon it and don't care, they also present images that are sometimes not very pretty.

US freedom and liberty gives the Google video truck the right to drive down any public byway and video what they see, 24/7. Other countries can alter what they want the truck to do, and what is public versus private versus secret information at their will.

If mapping is good, then it won't take long before someone figures that out and allows it. But as nations are ostensibly the assertion of the will of their people (less so in some areas), China has the right. Openness is a desirable quality, as people wonder what you're hiding when you're closed, an attitude that is balanced with the need for privacy and the right to be left alone.

The fulcum in the middle of that balance is respect.

Re:...national secrete... (1)

DCGaymer (956987) | more than 6 years ago | (#23391324)

I agree China has sovereign power as to it's borders....but I'd have to draw the line at saying we can't look over the fence....Think ... if Mynamar/Burma had dones so would we know as much as we do about it's regressive Junta regime?

Re:...national secrete... (1)

postbigbang (761081) | more than 6 years ago | (#23391490)

We've known about the military government in Myanmar for decades. We've done nothing about it except to advocate a democracy. There's little political will to do much about things in SE Asia after the Viet Nam disaster.

Looking over the fence gets you a few yards. It would be great if China, along with other countries with oligarchical regimes would open their borders. Nonetheless, France is also increasingly hostile for reasons of their own; perhaps secrecy, perhaps vanity, perhaps privacy. All can be valid, depending on the culture.

We have cameras in the sky that can see *everything* and don't imagine we can't. There's software that looks at those images and parses them for identifiable objects; it's all quite simple.

A ground-level video is superfluous. Mapping is important for many different reasons, but map control needs to have an authoritative basis. Yahoo and Google and GPS maps are plainly wrong and either accidently or purposefully misconstructed. I know, as I've been a 'victim' of these misconstructed, misleading maps in major places in the US and the EU. They were wrong, wrong, wrong.

We have a compelling reason in social justice to understand what's going on in other countries, but other countries also have the rights to their own sovereign borders. We have no right to just roll in to a foreign locale and do what we please; the reverse is also true although we offer a different basis for freedom and liberty and freedom of movement.

Re:...national secrete... (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23391204)

"...we free people...

sure most of the western world have more freedoms (for now, losing that slowly under 'war on terrorism'), but we are not *free*... 'political correctness', gun control, campaign finance, religion, etc. most aspects are controlled by the investment class either directly or indirectly through mass manipulation. only difference is that the people's republic of china is a little more clear about who's boss

Re:...national secrete... (4, Interesting)

zappepcs (820751) | more than 6 years ago | (#23391304)

Except, there is possibly different ways to say 'Fuck China':

1) Publish and push data all the way into their living rooms until they cut off the Internet for their people completely.

2) Publish in a flippant way: publish maps but when it comes to China put a graphic that says sensored by assholes in China.

3) Publish a website that shows ALL the stuff that China does not want their citizens to see/read/hear so that the entire rest of the world can see/read/hear it and know what Chinese government types have censored from their own people.

4) invite the Chinese government to come make the rest of the world sensor material for their benefit. I'm not saying war is good, but if you intend to tell them to fuck off they will either hide behind the wall or respond to that message.

Personally, I believe that no one should be buying ANYTHING made in China. Yes, I know it's next to impossible but I would spend an extra 10% to support companies from my country that make competing products to Chinese products.

The entire China issue is completely out of hand, and the best way IMO to stop it is to stop dealing with them. Stop buying from them. Stop selling to them. Do not go to the Olympics either. Don't watch the Olympics. In fact, I say we censor China altogether from the world's information, business dealings etc. Don't let them invest in anything anywhere else in the world. Lock up their assets that reside outside of China, close their Embassies... everything.

Yes, that will eventually hurt their people but it is their people that must overthrow the government in charge at this point.

national niggers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23390848)

even more priceless! oh, learn to spell "secret" ya moron.

Re:...national secrete... (2, Funny)

Gerald (9696) | more than 6 years ago | (#23391112)

My first thought wasn't priceless. It was "eeewwwww!" I have no idea what an entire nation might secrete, and I don't want to know.

Re:...national secrete... (1)

HTH NE1 (675604) | more than 6 years ago | (#23391526)

They can no longer sit back and allow Democratic infiltration, Democratic indoctrination, Democratic subversion and the international Democratic conspiracy to sap and impurify all of their precious bodily fluids.

Can they do this? (2, Insightful)

SimonGhent (57578) | more than 6 years ago | (#23390662)

So from now on, publishing maps would require approval and (yet another) license from the state survey bureau


Can a country do this? Why are on-line maps different from printed maps? Seems a bit unlikely to me.

inaccurate maps could harm national interests and dignity


As Google maps are satellite based, how inaccurate can they be?

Re:Can they do this? (4, Insightful)

Serapth (643581) | more than 6 years ago | (#23390708)

Can a country do this?

Well, considering the Dick Cheney had his house obscured... I suppose the answer is yes. Actually with Google maps the US government has a number of areas blacked out for security reasons.

Re:Can they do this? (4, Insightful)

junglee_iitk (651040) | more than 6 years ago | (#23390762)

Actually, it was possible in US because Google is US based.

China will be able to pull this off only because Google wants to do business there.

Let this be a reason for those who talk about "do no evil" and "Google" in same sentence (except me :) ), as if it is some person and not a corporation whose only thing they are looking for is more money for their shareholders.

And google can move abroad (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23390990)

They are, after all, an INTERNET COMPANY.

But I guess that if they did this and moved to, say, sweden, then the US gov would just get one of the ministers in sweden to lean on their mate in the police force and raid their offices there.

And thereby show that the US IS as bad as china and that, yes, other countries DO tell other companies what to do with online maps.

Re:And google can move abroad (5, Insightful)

gnick (1211984) | more than 6 years ago | (#23391172)

...the US gov would just get one of the ministers in sweden to lean on their mate in the police force and raid their offices there.

And thereby show that the US IS as bad as china and that, yes, other countries DO tell other companies what to do with online maps.
The US government has problems, but can somebody explain to me why stories that have absolutely nothing to do with the US government still attract US gov flames? This story is about China's oppression and mentions the fact that it may have an impact on a couple of US businesses. How is the US government involved any more than Holland's or France's? Yes, most of Google's censored map areas are in the US, but other countries have made similar requests and had them granted. I'm sure China could too. But that's a whole different ball game than requiring licensing and approval for posting maps...

Ugh - Maybe I should just filter out ACs...

Re:Can they do this? (0)

FireFury03 (653718) | more than 6 years ago | (#23391032)

Let this be a reason for those who talk about "do no evil" and "Google" in same sentence (except me :) ), as if it is some person and not a corporation whose only thing they are looking for is more money for their shareholders.

I'm not quite sure how you can consider Google to be evil because they follow the law. Just because you disagree with the law doesn't mean you get to ignore it. Sure, they could decide to not do business in China at all, but how would that help anyone?

Re:Can they do this? (2, Interesting)

MacDork (560499) | more than 6 years ago | (#23391460)

Sure, they could decide to not do business in China at all, but how would that help anyone?

It would stop Google from burying information and propagating disinformation on behalf the Chinese government. The Chinese take your land, put a bullet in you head, and charge your child 50 yaun for the bullet. [wordpress.com] What do you think the official Google.cn story regarding that event looks like? Something is not always necessarily better than nothing. Google should leave China. Staying is most certainly "evil." Your argument is the same as saying that the Chinese people are better off with TVs even if every broadcast station is nothing but round the clock propaganda. Google is nothing but a tool for propaganda in the hands of a dictatorial government.

Besides, hiding evidence of a murder and lying about it is itself a very serious criminal offense in the US.

Re:Can they do this? (1)

FireFury03 (653718) | more than 6 years ago | (#23391628)

It would stop Google from burying information and propagating disinformation on behalf the Chinese government.

Google censors information in a lot of jurisdictions. For example, they censor certain violent and pornographic content in the EU (not sure about the US).

I've yet to see Google intentionally propagating disinformation.

What do you think the official Google.cn story regarding that event looks like?

I have no idea and wouldn't like to make any assumptions. Maybe you should have linked to the google.cn story if you thought that supported your case.

Your argument is the same as saying that the Chinese people are better off with TVs even if every broadcast station is nothing but round the clock propaganda.

No, that's not what I'm saying at all. What I'm saying is that Google generally don't produce propaganda, and that complying with local censorship laws doesn't make them evil. If Google were to avoid doing business anywhere that has censorship laws, they wouldn't be doing business anywhere.

Besides, hiding evidence of a murder and lying about it is itself a very serious criminal offense in the US.

We're not talking about the US, we're talking about China. Also, I believe it is only a very serious offense in the US if you lie to the authorities. This is not what Google are doing - they are censoring public information in compliance with local laws.

Don't get me wrong, I don't trust big corporations to do the right thing, but I can't see any evidence of Google being "evil" by censoring content in compliance with Chinese laws any more than they are "evil" because they censor kiddie porn in compliance with western laws.

Re:Can they do this? (4, Funny)

Alzheimers (467217) | more than 6 years ago | (#23391056)

considering the Dick Cheney had his house

I think you either left out a word or a comma.

Re:Can they do this? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23391376)

...at the same time as they (the US) make Google black out certain areas because of national security, they are discussing a new law to make it illegal for corporations to censor information on the request of other nations. I'm not really sure what to call this but laughable, hypocritical and populistic comes to mind.

Re:Can they do this? (1)

omeomi (675045) | more than 6 years ago | (#23391436)

Well, considering the Dick Cheney had his house obscured... I suppose the answer is yes.

Unlike secret military bases and such, I don't think Dick Cheney's house was obscured because of any legal reasoning. My guess is that Google went along with obscuring it either out of an implied threat threat that they didn't want to bother wrestling with or just as a favor to the VP.

Re:Can they do this? (2, Funny)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 6 years ago | (#23390724)

As Google maps are satellite based, how inaccurate can they be?
That depends on whose satellite they got the data from. ;)

Re:Can they do this? (4, Insightful)

Deadstick (535032) | more than 6 years ago | (#23390748)

As Google maps are satellite based, how inaccurate can they be?

The borders go onto the map after the satellite takes the picture. Like, say, the border between China and Tibet.

rj

Re:Can they do this? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23391044)

The borders go onto the map after the satellite takes the picture. Like, say, the border between China and Tibet.

There is no border between China and Tibet. The international consensus is that Tibet is a part of China. Even the Dali Lama is not pushing for Tibet sovereignity---just cultural autonomy. The "Free Tibet" movement has done more harm than good because it has muddled the legitimate grievances of the Tibet people with the specter of secession of China's second-largest province. It hasn't helped that "Free Tibet" supporters literally attacked Olympic torch bearers (one who was in a wheelchair) to show their displeasure with China's efforts to control a riot. In part, it is because of this ill-conceived support for a position that not even the Dali Lama supports that neither the Chinese authorities nor the Chinese mainstream are willing to have a productive conversation about how to address the concerns of Tibet's people.

Re:Can they do this? (1)

gnick (1211984) | more than 6 years ago | (#23391352)

The "Free Tibet" movement has done more harm than good because it has muddled the legitimate grievances of the Tibet people with the specter of secession of China's second-largest province.
It seems to me that the movement is made mainly of people who see a bad situation and feel good about themselves when they burn energy on it - Whether it makes any sense or not. No rational person thinks that bumper stickers or torch assaults will return sovereignty to Tibet (even if they wanted it), but nobody's accusing those folks of being rational... I guess it does a little bit to spread awareness of a rough situation. But, as you pointed out, it's spreading a misaligned image of the situation and doing very little good (or harm) to the actual desires of the people that the protesters want to help.

Now I'm depressed...

Re:Can they do this? (1)

mark_hill97 (897586) | more than 6 years ago | (#23391124)

lies! everyone knows that if your flying over a border you can see a big black line there, even the names of the countries are all naturally occurring phenomenons.

There is no border between China and Tibet. (2, Funny)

wiredog (43288) | more than 6 years ago | (#23391266)

Tibet has always been part of China. Just as Oceania has always been at war with Eastasia.

Re:There is no border between China and Tibet. (1)

Free the Cowards (1280296) | more than 6 years ago | (#23391654)

How ironic, given that there really is no border. Tibet is not an occupied country, it was conquered and annexed. Thus, no border. Anyone who insists there is a border is the one suffering from a 1984-like denial of reality.

Re:Can they do this? (1)

Prof.Phreak (584152) | more than 6 years ago | (#23391558)

Which is why I'd like every country to paint a border around itself to be visible from space; bright fluorescent yellow lines---a mile wide or so.

Re:Can they do this? (4, Insightful)

querist (97166) | more than 6 years ago | (#23390752)

I do not believe the satellite based images are the main issue here.

The Chinese government objects to maps that depict certain regions as being separate sovereign countries, such as Tibet and Taiwan, which the Chinese government holds are both part of China.

This would be similar to a map being published that showed Alaska as a separate country, or as part of Canada, as opposed to it being part of the USA.

Re:Can they do this? (1)

Spacepup (695354) | more than 6 years ago | (#23390932)

Except that there is no dispute over the sovereignty of Alaska. The state government and the US government agree that it is part of the US.

Tibet and Taiwan both insist that they are separate countries from China with their own governments. Much of the rest of the world (at least the non-communist west) considers Tibet and Taiwan as separate from China.

China's request is akin to your crazy neighbor telling Google that your house shouldn't be on the city map because he wants it too look like the entire neighborhood belongs to him.

Re:Can they do this? (1)

querist (97166) | more than 6 years ago | (#23391042)

I will agree that, to the best of my understanding, there is no dispute over Alaska.

I am not going to argue about either Tibet or Taiwan, as those are issues that are still under dispute. I will note, however, that neither of those regions have representation in the UN, and at least the USA does not officially recognize either as a sovereign nation.

I am not aware of the official policies of other countries with regard to Tibet or Taiwan.

Also, it was only an example. I could not come up with anything closer to reality at the moment. I'm sorry. I know people in the area that was hit by the earthquake in China and I'm a little bit distracted.

Re:Can they do this? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23391240)

I will agree that, to the best of my understanding, there is no dispute over Alaska.
Let me clear up your understanding. There is no dispute over Alaska.

I am not going to argue about either Tibet or Taiwan, as those are issues that are still under dispute.
You are right, there is no need to argue. You just conceded the point. There is a dispute over Taiwan and Tibet.

I could not come up with anything closer to reality at the moment.
Then maybe you should not comment on it. How about the situation in Bolivia [google.com] where provinces are trying to declare autonomy by referendum. Not exactly the same, but much closer.

Re:Can they do this? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23391054)

Much of the rest of the world (at least the non-communist west) considers Tibet and Taiwan as separate from China.
The United States believes China and Taiwan are one nation [state.gov] .

Re:Can they do this? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23391272)

Tibet and Taiwan both insist that they are separate countries from China with their own governments. Much of the rest of the world (at least the non-communist west) considers Tibet and Taiwan as separate from China.

That is not what the rest of the world holds. For example, the state department includes Tibet as part of China. See Country Reports on Human Rights Practices - 2005 [state.gov] , which states that "The United States recognizes the Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR) and Tibetan autonomous prefectures and counties in other provinces to be a part of the People's Republic of China." What do the people of Tibet hold? It's not clear. The Dali Lama is not pushing for Tibet independence, just cultural autonomy. Many of the supporters of an independent Tibet left the region almost a generation ago or have no cultural ties to the region (e.g., most of the protesters who decided unilaterally that the Olympics were a symbol of Chinese oppression). The Mandarin Chinese who have built homes and businesses in Tibet certainly are not interested in having it become a separate country. Should their opinion count?

Taiwan, on the other hand, is in a limbo state. Western leaders continue to support the status quo. That is, western leaders do not want China to forcibly reunify Taiwan, which would be very destabilizing, but do not want the Taiwanese to declare their independence from China either. Support for the status quo is one of the reasons why the United States does not have diplomatic relations with Taiwan. See The CIA World Factbook [cia.gov] . The majority of Taiwanese people support the status quo too.

Re:Can they do this? (1)

Lemmy Caution (8378) | more than 6 years ago | (#23391342)

There is, however, some dispute over the status of Hawaii and Puerto Rico.

Very little of the world considers Tibet separate from China: not even the Dalai Lama thinks of them as separate, and accepts Chinese sovereignty. The issue is cultural autonomy and identity, which makes the issue more complicated. If it was felt that too many white people moving to Hawaii was diluting the cultural identity of that region and driving locals out of jobs and homes by economic pressure, would we feel comfortable with some legislation that set aside Hawaii for ethnic Hawaiians? Because that is much of what is at stake here, after all is said and done.

Re:Can they do this? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23391444)

How'd you know my neighbor is crazy?

Re:Can they do this? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23391476)

Except that there is no dispute over the sovereignty of Alaska. The state government and the US government agree that it is part of the US.

Some of the native Alaskans might disagree with you [wikipedia.org] .

Re:Can they do this? (1)

scipiodog (1265802) | more than 6 years ago | (#23391482)

The Chinese government objects to maps that depict certain regions as being separate sovereign countries, such as Tibet and Taiwan, which the Chinese government holds are both part of China. This would be similar to a map being published that showed Alaska as a separate country, or as part of Canada, as opposed to it being part of the USA.

I don't think that's quite a fair parallel.

I also don't think it's quite right to lump Tibet and Taiwan together in this argument. Tibet, whatever the rights and wrongs, has actually been occupied by the PRC since the '50s. Taiwan, since the end of the Chinese Civil War, has never been occupied by the PRC. Indeed, for many years it was considered "China" by much of the west.

It's more like, say, American Samoa or Puerto Rico being shown as different countries.

Re:Can they do this? (2, Informative)

gstoddart (321705) | more than 6 years ago | (#23390820)

As Google maps are satellite based, how inaccurate can they be?

Oh, they show an accurate picture of the geography.

But, political things like borders and sensitive areas are a different matter.

I don't believe this is the first time a country has objected to the way an internet mapping service represents their country.

This isn't about an accurate picture, so much as a politically driven interpretation or label. The US censors some Google data as well.

Cheers

Re:Can they do this? (1)

DrLang21 (900992) | more than 6 years ago | (#23390850)

They can only enforce this in their own country. In other words, if Google and Yahoo don't play by their rules, they will probably be filtered by the Great Firewall of China.

Re:Can they do this? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23390882)

As Google maps are satellite based, how inaccurate can they be?

Google maps also shows the boundaries between countries. Google probably wouldn't have any problems getting a license. The Chinese government probably is mostly concerned about maps that highlight different countries in different colors. Google maps shows countries in a uniform light gray. Thus, when Google maps labels the island of Taiwan, it is not clear whether Google is saying that Taiwan is a sovereign state or a region within China (i.e., like Hong Kong or Macau). If Google Maps were to highlight China in red and Taiwan in blue, then that would be inconsistent with China's position (it would also conflict with the rest of the world's position of maintaining the ambiguous status quo for as long as possible). Is licensing on-line map providers and possibly censoring unlicensed on-line map providers the best way for China to communicate its positions? Probably not outside of China. But the Chinese authorities are more interested in encouraging unity within the country on issues of what constitutes China than on pleasing the rest of the world.

Re:Can they do this? (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 6 years ago | (#23391058)

The Chinese government probably is mostly concerned about maps that highlight different countries in different colors.
Solution: If a country has a disputed border, use a different shade of the same color. For instance, red China could have pink Taiwan and pink Tibet.

Re:Can they do this? (1)

jandersen (462034) | more than 6 years ago | (#23390960)

Can a country do this?
Of course they can. Basically, in order to produce any map, you have to somehow go and measure the area; if those who control the access the area don't permit you to enter or fly over it, you can't force yur way in; certainly not in the case of a sovereign country, but even on private land, in most cases. Of course, one could try one's luck with buying the information from whoever holds the pictures from America's spy sattelites, but I don't think the US government would like to seriously alienate China over this issue.

As Google maps are satellite based, how inaccurate can they be?
A map is not a picture, but an interpretation of what is in a picture. If you try to find your own neighborhood on Google Earth, you can see how difficult it is to spot even the things you know well. Roads look different from what you imagine, just for starters. It is quite difficult to make an accurate map, there are simply so many ways you could make a mistake. It also depends on the landscape - there are many places in rural China where roads are very poor and indistinguishable on a picture, and China is full of weird and wonderful geological formations that could be very challenging to interpret. On top of that, Google's mapmakers will in most cases not have access to the locals in many areas, and local knowledge is likely to be fairly crucial in many cases.

But apart from that, I would love to have a good, detailed map of all of China - it is such an incredibly exciting country.

Re:Can they do this? (1)

sjaguar (763407) | more than 6 years ago | (#23390982)

As Google maps are satellite based, how inaccurate can they be?
Maybe they show military installations that don't actually exist.

Re:Can they do this?--OH YEAH THEY CAN. (1)

MarkvW (1037596) | more than 6 years ago | (#23391028)

A country can even shoot people for making maps disapproved by the ruling regime (if they can obtain jurisdiction). That's sovereignty for you! How far will Google go in its quest for the almighty dollar (or yuan, or whatever)?

Re:Can they do this? (1)

cyfer2000 (548592) | more than 6 years ago | (#23391074)

You can't figure out borders, like the Mason-Dixon Line, from a satellite picture.

Re:Can they do this? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23391086)

Can a country do this?
Certainly. I'm guessing you don't want them shooting down your satellite or plane. It's their airspace. Now, if you publish a map based on data you've already gathered before this, they may have no legal recourse except to deny you data when you ask for it or shoot down your plane or satellite when you go to gather more data.

Re:Can they do this? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23391556)

As Google maps are satellite based, how inaccurate can they be?
The images are technically correct, but you can't exactly see political borders from space.

Re:Can they do this? (1)

element-o.p. (939033) | more than 6 years ago | (#23391680)

Having just gotten lost on the way to the airport in Austin, Texas after printing out instructions from Google maps, let me tell you: they can be very, very, very wrong...

Re:Can they do this? (1)

skuzzlebutt (177224) | more than 6 years ago | (#23391718)

how inaccurate can they be?
Well, given that Google had "misplaced" Tibet [theregister.co.uk] and found a section of the Himilayas had moved [theregister.co.uk] several hundred miles, it depends on your definition of accuracy vs. the PRC's definition, I suppose.

What does this mean? (3, Interesting)

RandoX (828285) | more than 6 years ago | (#23390674)

Does Google need to pay to use the map that China produced, or to even show the country on a map that anyone produced? Are they licensing the map itself, or the representation of China's IP of the shape and layout of the country itself? If it's the latter, that's just... ill.

What happens if they just ignore their weirdo regulations and continue to publish the maps? How about just not in China?

Re:What does this mean? (1)

cyfer2000 (548592) | more than 6 years ago | (#23391026)

"So from now on, publishing maps would require approval and (yet another) license from the state survey bureau."

I know we /.ers don't RTFA, but now it looks we don't read the teeny weeny summary too.

BTW, it is not "from now on", it is from maybe 50 or 40 years ago. And the Google Chinese map is at http://ditu.google.cn/ [google.cn] .

A better article (4, Informative)

Tungbo (183321) | more than 6 years ago | (#23391070)

This link has more info: http://tech.sina.com.cn/i/2008-03-25/21362099485.shtml [sina.com.cn]

Google licensed PRC geographic data from Beijing United Map Technology Limited (just a guess translation) who has a electronic map service license from the National Survey Department (apparently the prime driver for the regulatory initiative). The reporter speculates that the regulatory initiave may be related to the competition between Beijing United Map Technology with its duopoly competitior, Beijing Map Advanced Technology.

The official reasons given by the Deputy Director of the National Survey Department are:
1. Inaccurate boundaries show parts of PRC as soil of other nations
2. Omission of south sea islands (disputed islands with Japan)
3. Omission of Taiwan or labeling of Taiwan as independent
4. Inaccurate boundaries between administrative regions and dissemination of important geographical data
5. Annotation of sensitive, nonpublic, or national security information on the map.
          (Think of Dick Cheney's house...)

Part of Google's objection is that there are no clear laws pertaining to online maps in PRC. Thus the regulators are not acting on a solid foundation. There remains wide spread confuson on what exactly is required by these regulations.

As for Google's choices, they are actively protesting this initiative. But unless they prevail or pull out of China they would be subjected to their laws and likely to adapt to publishing only authorized versions of PRC maps.

Re:A better article (3, Funny)

Lemmy Caution (8378) | more than 6 years ago | (#23391398)

Your summary, which explains how this is a dispute about the use of data which was provided by a Chinese source, is much too focused and accurate, and prevents people from the ceremonial outrage which constitute their 2 minute hate against China. You should be ashamed of yourself.

Re:What does this mean? (2, Insightful)

FreeUser (11483) | more than 6 years ago | (#23391090)

What happens if they just ignore their weirdo regulations and continue to publish the maps? How about just not in China?

Or Publish China-Politico Maps as a separate option from Free-Tibet Maps. This reminds me of Arab countries cutting Israel out of inflatable globes donated for education (which of course made the inflatable globe uninflatable), except stupider.

Hopefully google will publish one map inside of China, and a more sensible, complete map for the rest of us.

Oh yeah, and unobscure Cheney's house please. Me and a truck full of toilet paper have a data with the trees in his front yeard. (kidding of course, but I better say it lest those humour-free bozos actually label me a terrorist threat and have me "rendered" to Gitmo).

Re:What does this mean? (1)

number17 (952777) | more than 6 years ago | (#23391150)

Refer to Microsoft maps about this. This has always been an issue. You will not get the same maps on http://maps.live.com/ [live.com] as you will on http://ditu.live.com./ [ditu.live.com] Satellite imagery has been a problem as well with Chinese map sites. Check out http://www.ditu.net/ [ditu.net] to see how they got around that.

Here is a brief explination: http://radar.oreilly.com/archives/2007/12/live-maps-in-china-an-intervie.html [oreilly.com]
Was the data allowed to leave China? What other restrictions were placed on the data and its use? [vt] The map data is not allowed to leave the border. Some other countries also have the same regulations (Korea for example). In China, maps can only be provided by the licensed map data providers. Also the on-line publishing maps need to go through a âencryptionâ(TM) process whereby map coordinates are transformed to an unknown coordinate system (not in Lat/Long). This is mainly for the national security reason as far as I know.

nice typo (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23390720)

maps could "reveal national secrete"?

One thing is for sure: Traffic James won't stand for this.

How in the hell (2, Funny)

esocid (946821) | more than 6 years ago | (#23390728)

Now how am I supposed to get from my house to Shanghai? I need those directions dammit.

The new spam (0)

Harmonious Botch (921977) | more than 6 years ago | (#23390736)

Ch1n@ m@pz

Ching Chong Wing Wong (1)

boneclinkz (1284458) | more than 6 years ago | (#23390750)

Map reveal ancient Chinee secret?

Re:Ching Chong Wing Wong (1)

qoncept (599709) | more than 6 years ago | (#23390802)

Just wanted to mention that the OP neglected to put "inaccurate maps" in quotes, or at least italicized.

Re:Ching Chong Wing Wong (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23391688)

Why? Inaccurate maps can, indeed, harm national interests and so on. If you hope to imply with scare quotes that China's idea of inaccurate maps is not the same as others, then wouldn't it be simpler just to say that? And italics? WTF would that even mean?

Toy Maps (1)

gazita123 (589586) | more than 6 years ago | (#23390756)

This has been happening for a while, but in different forms.
I would have to guess that they are talking about maps that are originating in China, and not maps served from outside of the country.
In the past, maps manufactured for a product such as a toy globe would need to pass similar scrutiny. So, you couldn't get the good exported if the cultural board didn't agree with the map that you were using.

They Just want money (0)

Prysorra (1040518) | more than 6 years ago | (#23390764)

Thanks to Mr Satellite, China cannot stop the world from mapping the Sino nation. It can, however, demand a lot of money and make the world think it can.

Re:They Just want money (1)

gstoddart (321705) | more than 6 years ago | (#23390854)

Thanks to Mr Satellite, China cannot stop the world from mapping the Sino nation. It can, however, demand a lot of money and make the world think it can.

Well, China can always shoot down your sattellite, but that might be construed as a hostile act.

If Google has any actual people in China, those people could be subject to arrest or intimidation if they don't comply.

Remember, in China (and, increasingly more places), the truth is what they tell you it is. Their view on how information is handed out is a little different than ours.

Cheers

Controlling the truth (5, Insightful)

Harmonious Botch (921977) | more than 6 years ago | (#23391002)

Remember, in China (and, increasingly more places), the truth is what they tell you it is. Their view on how information is handed out is a little different than ours...
Actually, the trend is going the other way. Governments have always tried to control the truth. What is changing is our knowledge of their actions.
They aren't doing it more, they're just being caught doing it more often.

Re:They Just want money (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23391364)

What are you talking about? This is about homeland security! China has every right to defend itself from maps that aid and abet the terrorists. In this post-9/11 world everyone needs these extra protections. We should all to do our part in the War on Terror.

Fort Knox on U. S. maps (4, Interesting)

dpbsmith (263124) | more than 6 years ago | (#23390782)

I wish I had tracked this a little more closely, but for a couple of decades ordinary maps of Kentucky in atlases like Rand McNally and Hammond did not indicate the existence of the city of Fort Knox, despite showing far smaller cities.

It was actually a little bit exciting to see the map in Ian Fleming's novel Goldfinger, showing the United States Bullion Depository located at the intersection of Bullion Boulevard and Gold Vault Road. In those days before Wikipedia [wikipedia.org] and Google Earth, this gave at least one reader frisson of forbidden information. I wondered whether Fleming would be the target of any mysterious reprisals for publishing it.

Re:Fort Knox on U. S. maps (1)

SimonGhent (57578) | more than 6 years ago | (#23390884)

at the intersection of Bullion Boulevard and Gold Vault Road


What an excellent place to put your bullion reserve, who would ever look there?

Reminds me of the brown sign (tourist information sign in the UK) to the "Secret Bunker"

Re:Fort Knox on U. S. maps (1)

_Shad0w_ (127912) | more than 6 years ago | (#23391350)

BT Tower (formerly the Post Office Tower) was classified as an official secret until the mid-90s, which means it didn't appear on any maps.

Re:Fort Knox on U. S. maps (1)

Prof.Phreak (584152) | more than 6 years ago | (#23391638)

Eh. ``...and coming up on your right... Nothing.'' ---the simpsons movie.

Consumer Interests (2, Interesting)

totallyarb (889799) | more than 6 years ago | (#23390810)

It's nice to see that the Chinese Government have learned from their western counterparts that anything you do in the name of "protecting consumer interests" becomes allowable. Their next lesson: "think of the children".

Forgive me if I'm stating the obvious, but it looks to me like the intention of this is to prevent Chinese citizens from seeing any map that recognises Taiwan or Tibet. Any one remember Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri? - Beware of he who would deny you access to information, for in his heart he dreams himself your master.

Sad, but unsurprising.

Maps have propaganda value (4, Interesting)

MikeRT (947531) | more than 6 years ago | (#23390822)

If people get used to seeing "The Republic of Taiwan" instead of the "Shitty, Upstart Province of Formosa (or China's name for it) that Dares Act Independent," then that would give people the expectation that Taiwan is a sovereign country. If China goes to war, then it's not to reclaim a break-away province that has been acting like a renegade, but rather just another conquest like Iraq on Kuwait.

Maps do have real political value behind them. There are a lot of people in Mexico that would love to see the reconquista of the Southwest, and the Mexican government has said in the past that expanding its territory back into the original territory is its goal. That's actually why the map that Absolut did in their advertising campaign was so controversial in the U.S.

Spot on (3, Insightful)

Deadstick (535032) | more than 6 years ago | (#23390834)

That means Google, Yahoo, etc., need to remove China from the map

A much better option than going along with what China wants them to publish. Sometimes the best course is to let jackasses make jackasses of themselves.

rj

Re:Spot on (1)

blamanj (253811) | more than 6 years ago | (#23391178)

It's even simpler. Publish China's maps when the request comes from China, publish non-Chinese maps the rest of the time.

Re:Spot on (1)

L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) | more than 6 years ago | (#23391384)

So how does removing a region from a map work? Won't the area have an outline defined by the neighbouring nations and geographical formations identical to that which is covered by China? Tibet will still be there; it'll just have a big black blob designated "Rescinded" next to it, instead of a geographical representation of China. The blob will just so happen to cover China's area of influence, though.
 

the psychosis of pride (0, Troll)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 6 years ago | (#23390894)

national sovereignty and religious superiority is an illusion. there is nothing unique about being russian, or chinese, or muslim, or christian, or american, or any nationality or religious identity. of course, blind nationalist pride and religious bigotry are founded on the bedrock concept of exclusivity, superiority

and what they reap form that falsehood is violence, hated, and war

this world is a long way from peace. to get there, billions more must die in the name of moronic tribal pride before people learn the price they pay simply for believing they are superior because of their nationality or religion

so go china go: you are inculcating your rise on the world stage in the same way germany and japan did, the same way the usa and the uk did. your neighbors should pay attention, and batten the hatches. when, not if, china experiences an economic downturn, i fully expect a demagogue to rise to power and reap the "benefits" of the rabid nationalism china breeds on purpose to deflect criticism away from china

mark these words: the sense of religious suepriority they breed in riyadh and the sense of nationalist superiority they breed in beijing does not fade away, and it demands a pound of flesh

the psychosis of pride. it is blind, and leads to violence. and it is inevitable

only bloodshed will come of chinese nationalism and arab religious bigotry

i am 100% certainty on that. it does not fade away on its own. it is venom that once made, must claim lives

until the nationalists and religious bigots lose their influence. and that only comes when the common chinese and the common arab see the price they pay for their blind pride in the damage they do to themselves and their neighbors for thinking themselves so superior

Real concern == Taiwan (2, Informative)

surmak (1238244) | more than 6 years ago | (#23390908)

When China is talking about sovereignty, and "national interests and national dignity" they are really talking about having Taiwan (and maybe Tibet as well) labeled as independent nations.

Basically, they do not want any maps to be available on the Net to their own people (or anyone else, but that is impossible) which contain such counter-revolutionary ideas such as an independent Taiwan(even if only de facto).

Re:Real concern == Taiwan (2, Interesting)

russotto (537200) | more than 6 years ago | (#23390980)

Basically, they do not want any maps to be available on the Net to their own people (or anyone else, but that is impossible) which contain such counter-revolutionary ideas such as an independent Taiwan(even if only de facto).


No problem. Just show all of China as one country... with the capital in Taipei.

Caitlin Upton (1)

BobVila (592015) | more than 6 years ago | (#23390922)

OMG, Miss South Carolina was right. It wasn't an idiotic response, it was a prophecy.

pay attention, you! (0, Troll)

rodentia (102779) | more than 6 years ago | (#23390976)

We should pay attention. This bossy, little China is the model for the new Merka the Republicrats have in mind for us.

All the joys of capitalism without the pain of real competetion. Recipe for disaster it is.

English language article from CCTV (3, Informative)

GeorgeNorton (548252) | more than 6 years ago | (#23391020)

CCTV's English language service ran this article a couple of months back: http://www.cctv.com/english/20080410/101774.shtml [cctv.com]

Re:English language article from CCTV (1)

IBBoard (1128019) | more than 6 years ago | (#23391200)

Ah, but you can't trust that article. After all, didn't you read that CCTV doesn't work [slashdot.org] . That's why we had to wait for this article ;)

remove them (1)

wardk (3037) | more than 6 years ago | (#23391030)

remove them from all globes too, have them made in China

It's just you can't publish in China (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23391048)

This doesn't stop an American map maker from including China on the map.

What it does do, is to stop anyone publishing such a map in China.

Keep forbidding content, please (2, Funny)

Thanshin (1188877) | more than 6 years ago | (#23391078)

It will push the artificial intelligence field of image recognition to unthinkable heights.

Blind people around the world should praise China for their invaluable help.

If they can find China in any way of map representation it should surely be easy to discern among different types of porn.

From a purely algorithmical point of view, of course.

Why took them so long? (1)

Corson (746347) | more than 6 years ago | (#23391118)

I am surprised it took them so long to make this decision and I expect other countries to do the same. Maps have historically been used by explorers and the military so why would any country accept that potential enemies gain access to that kind of information?

Re:Why took them so long? (1)

Machine9 (627913) | more than 6 years ago | (#23391448)

You misunderstand, we already have the information; China just doesn't want it to be available in china.

I can see the bookmarks now... (4, Insightful)

rarity (165626) | more than 6 years ago | (#23391126)

"On this spot in 1989, nothing happened".

Argentinan case (2, Interesting)

chord.wav (599850) | more than 6 years ago | (#23391168)

Argentina streets aren't in Google maps either. I've heard tons of versions regarding why practically every southamerican country but Argentina don't show up there. Including, and this one came from a Google employee, that the military/goverment didn't want to give "sensitive" information (Read: The bribe wasn't good enough). So they were looking for third party mapping companies to buy the data from (Read: Unhappy employee)

MSN Live has streets but it seems they've used very old data as they show streets that don't exist so don't rely on them too much.

Don't know about Yahoo.

It's long past time... (1)

hyades1 (1149581) | more than 6 years ago | (#23391386)

...to give these fuckers a lesson in just how slippery and hard to control the truth can be.

what's amazing is how tyranny is all over the map (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23391428)

what the heck ever happened to freedom from oppression?

the current policy is appeasement, plain and simple

Openstreetmap.org already has some China coverage (1)

ribuck (943217) | more than 6 years ago | (#23391474)

There's already some coverage of China in openstreetmap.org (which is like Wikipedia for maps). For example, here's Shanghai:

http://openstreetmap.org/?lat=31.226&lon=121.5487&zoom=12&layers=B0FT [openstreetmap.org]

The coverage is only going to improve. Already in other countries, many cities are nearing completion. You can't close the mapping door after the GPS trace has bolted.

China needs a name change. (0, Flamebait)

TrebleJunkie (208060) | more than 6 years ago | (#23391570)

I'm renaming China to "VaChina." Because it really is a pussy coward of a country. It really needs to grow a pair and embrace freedom.
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