AH 2015 Google Maps LOGO-79

Map Data for China must be housed on Servers in the Country

December 23, 2015 - Written By Daniel Fuller

In the area of the law, many authorities are just starting to catch on the mobile and internet revolution and write laws accordingly. From texting and driving to cyber bullying, bases are being covered at a relieving rate, with just a few outliers such as regulations for self-driving cars. One such area is in online mapping. Maps in the cloud are convenient for everybody involved, driving business growth and providing tons of useful functions to common folk. Even governments and tech companies have benefited from the growth of online mapping.

There are, however, some pitfalls. Current location, home address and other personal data may end up leaked, online directions can lead people astray at times and there can be hangups in data collection, storage and transmission. China is looking to patch up some of these pitfalls by passing new laws concerning the online mapping space. Passed as part of State Council Order 664, signed by Chinese Premier Li Keqiang, the new laws contain a few passages regarding online maps.

The first rule is that online map data must be stored in servers that are on Chinese soil. This allows for local control and makes it just a bit harder for sensitive information to be leaked. Businesses providing GPS and navigation services are also required to have Chinese licenses for surveying and mapping. Services that collect any kind of user data, including current location via device sensors, must ask the user for permission first. There was no mention of a requirement to show the user the company’s privacy policy, but that will most likely be a given with the rollout of updates that will bring all services into compliance. Companies are to keep users’ information under wraps and cannot sell it, distort it or release it to third parties. Fourth, if there are any errors with data transfer,the transfer is to be cut off immediately and reported to the proper authorities to ensure there were no hacks or other foul play involved. The fifth new rule is that new features and services will be officially scrutinized to ensure they don’t reveal any private information or anything that may jeopardize national security.