What do you people think about the new proposed Bill about Maps and Geospatial data

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Dilip Damle

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May 5, 2016, 1:36:40 PM5/5/16
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HI, 

I was shocked to see this news today. 

http://www.businessinsider.in/PoK-and-Arunachal-as-disputed-territories/articleshow/52129850.cms


A part from the news 

"To add to this, the Geospatial Information Regulation Bill would soon be brought to tables, and any person or institution acquiring and disseminating any geospatial imagery or data of any part of India through space or aerial platforms will be required to first seek permission and license from a government authority." 

A so  a large part of what we are doing here will become Illegal


Rgards 
Dilip Damle

srinivas kodali

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May 5, 2016, 10:04:11 PM5/5/16
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Maybe. Wait for the draft to be out.

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Nisha Thompson

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May 5, 2016, 10:57:43 PM5/5/16
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We should start drafting a response

Vaishnavi Jayakumar (Inclusive India)

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May 5, 2016, 11:20:41 PM5/5/16
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Not should, but MUST. We have 30 days to respond / campaign for this.
The draft is attached  as sourced 2016-05-06 via  http://mha.nic.in/sites/upload_files/mha/files/GeospatialBill_05052016_eve.pdf


Take licence or close Maps, Modi govt may soon tell Google

Indian government is working on a new law that will make it illegal for companies to provide maps or imaging services like Google Maps without a prior licence. Also, the licence will be provided only after the maps and the related services have been vetted by a special committee -- Security Vetting Authority -- that will be formed to look into it.

Once the licence has been provided, the service will have to adhere to certain norms and show accurate maps of India. Any violation will not only attract a fine of up to Rs 1 crore but may also result in punitive action -- up to 7 years of jail -- against the executives of the company providing maps.

The draft of the Geospatial Information Regulation Bill, which the NDA government is hoping to introduce soon in the Parliament, shows the bill is aimed at ensuring that all maps distributed in the country -- digitally or physically -- are accurate and adhere to the guidelines issued by the government.

“Every person who has already acquired any geospatial imagery or data of any part of India either through space or aerial platforms such as satellite, aircrafts, airships, balloons, unmanned aerial vehicles or terrestrial vehicles... shall within one year from the commencement of this Act, make an application along with requisite fees to the Security Vetting Authority for retaining such geospatial information and grant of licence,” notes the draft of the bill .

In the past, on some occasions there have been inaccuracies in some of the maps provided by services like Google Maps as they have shown India without areas like PoK. With the new bill, the government hopes to put an end to it.

The draft of the Geospatial Information Regulation Bill describes it as a “Bill to regulate the acquisition, dissemination, publication and distribution of geospatial information of India which is likely to affect the security, sovereignty and integrity of India.”

Interestingly, even as the government hopes to punish mapping errors by private bodies, the government organisations will not be regulated by the Geospatial Information Regulation Bill.

“The Central Government may, by notification in Official Gazette, exempt the Ministries,  Departments, Public Sector Enterprises or any other attached or subordinate offices of the Central   Government or State Governments from the provisions of this Act to the extent it deems fit,” notes the draft.

Services like Google Maps have been of great use for most people but they have also created some unease among the government officials. A few years ago when Google started mapping roads in Bengaluru for its Street View service, the company was told to put the project on hold because of the security concerns. While Google continues to talk to the government for the Street View project, even after years it has apparently not secured the permission.

At the same time, the company’s geo teams have found the going much easier while working with the government for mapping tourist attractions. In the last few years, Google and Archaeological Survey of India have worked together to bring a lot of monuments like Taj Mahal online.

Once it is approved, it is not clear how the bill will change the regulatory conditions for companies like Google. For now companies providing map services are not saying anything but at a time when creating and distributing maps or geo-imagery is incredibly easy, it is possible that the government may not find enforcing the Geospatial Information Regulation Bill easy.



---------------------------------------
VAISHNAVI JAYAKUMAR
http://about.me/vjayakumar
GeospatialBill_05052016_eve.txt
GeospatialBill_05052016_eve.pdf

Suvajit Sengupta

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May 5, 2016, 11:41:48 PM5/5/16
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Thanks Vaishnavi for the draft bill.
Lets identify clauses, which we may find partial or unjustified.
We can review them together, and consolidate it as our collective response before forwarding it to the Department.
Can we form a short term dedicated work force for this activity ?

Regards,
Suvajit Sengupta

Regards,
Suvajit

My galleria @ http://www.flickr.com/photos/jeet_sen

Devdatta Tengshe

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May 6, 2016, 12:00:27 AM5/6/16
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Hi all,

I have serious reservations about this draft, and we must definitely respond to it.


Firstly, this proposed bill is just too vast in its scope. It wants to regulate not only the capture and collection of raw data, but the Dissemination and distribution of any kind of value added products, i.e. visualization, maps and analysed reports. This is something that is totally unheard of.

There are no reasonable restrictions in it. It applies to satellite/UAV/ Ariel data, as well as digital data depicting natural or man-made physical features.... without any limitation of scale or precision.

It applies to to those collecting data as well. So If I download Landsat Data from USGS's Earth explorer site, and store it on my computer, I need to apply for a permit under these rules. This means that storing data which is in the Public domain will be against these rules.

If you for example make a simple visualization about your morning jog, you need permission under this Act.

Given my background in the GIS Industry (and not in law), I think that we should respond to it at least along the following points:

  • This proposed bill is just too vast in its scope. It should have some restrictions, probably of spatial resolution, and areas. It does not even talk about military/defence related area or high security zones, and tries to classify the whole of India as restricted. For example, this act should be applicable to data higher than say 0.5 m resolution; anything courser is not under the ambit of the law.
  • This act tries to prevent the dissemination of data and documents under the Public domain. Data from many US, European & Japanese satellites is available in the Public domain. I'm not a lawyer, but I don't see how controls and restrictions can be applied on this kind of free data.
  • We should argue that is just security through obscurity for Indian citizens and countries. This law will not be respected by foreign entities, and foreign enemies and terrorists can just source this data from such foreign data providers.
  • We should also argue that this goes against the Digital India and Start up India programs, and will stymie such initiatives, because over 80% of data is spatial data; without the free access to such data by Industry, Academia, researchers, and citizens, these kinds of programs cannot progress.
  • Coming to the border issue; It is worth arguing that since the Indian Government doesn't disseminate high resolution boundaries itself, then is unreasonable to expect private players to have correct boundaries to use.
  • The last point is probably for Indian GIS Industry to pick up, but this act will handicap the Indian GIS industry and put it at an disadvantage when compared to the state of the GIS industry.


Let me know if any more details are required.

Regards,
Devdatta

Praachi Misra

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May 6, 2016, 12:11:09 AM5/6/16
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Was anybody part of the consultation for this Bill? Any communication with NIC regarding this?

Nisha Thompson

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May 6, 2016, 12:39:57 AM5/6/16
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We can't just respond. We need to build a coalition of partners and businesses who are opposed. 

We need to also write opeds and editorials on why this is a bad policy for India and for economic growth.

Can we get a list together of businesses and organizations that use GIS and build awareness on why this is a bad policy?

I think a small working group is important, let's organize this on here.

Nisha

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Nisha Thompson

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May 6, 2016, 12:42:27 AM5/6/16
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@Praachi
Can you give the policy a once over and provide a legal summary of its implications?

I'll try to find out if anyone was in the consultation.

Nisha

Thejesh GN

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May 6, 2016, 12:56:48 AM5/6/16
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@all
1. I have the document to document cloud, so its easy to comment, embed etc

2. should we have a hackpad ? for listing startups and orgs?





 

Thej
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H. S. Sudhira

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May 6, 2016, 1:03:01 AM5/6/16
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Agree that there can be a consolidated response to this. 

There is also some discussion going on Talk-in (OpenStreetMap India mailing list) on this thread. It would be good to join forces with folks on that list too. 

Sudhira.

Sajjad Anwar

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May 6, 2016, 1:03:44 AM5/6/16
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srinivas kodali

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May 6, 2016, 1:51:52 AM5/6/16
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@Devdatta: that essentially means we can't use ISRO's data & they may have to stop publishing data too?

Regards,
Srinivas Kodali
www.lostprogrammer.com

Johnson Chetty

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May 6, 2016, 1:55:31 AM5/6/16
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I hope there will be some further deliberation and review over this bill. 
The core issue pertains primarily to the disputed border regions and not of India as a whole. 

Regards,
Johnson Chetty




Devdatta Tengshe

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May 6, 2016, 1:56:02 AM5/6/16
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@Srinivas: This bill isn't applicable to Government organizations.

It will be a strange thing though. It will be legal for ISRO/Bhuvan to offer this data for download, but not legal for you and me to collect it without a permit.

I actually understand their intent behind this bill. They want to control organizations like Google, Digital Globe, & mapbox; But the current form of the bill is just atrocious.

Regards,
Devdatta

Devdatta Tengshe

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May 6, 2016, 1:58:14 AM5/6/16
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@Johnson

The boundry issue is just the 6th point.

As a GIS practitioner, I'm more concerned with the earlier 5 points, which prevent me from storing, analysing and disseminating any kind of GIS Data, and its outputs.

Regards,
Devdatta

On Fri, May 6, 2016 at 11:25 AM, Johnson Chetty <johnso...@gmail.com> wrote:

I hope there will be some further deliberation and review over this bill. 
The core issue pertains primarily to the disputed border regions and not of India as a whole. 

Dilip Damle

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May 6, 2016, 2:13:34 AM5/6/16
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HI,

I have been behaving like  pack rat for the last 15-20 years. Almost Any geospatial Data that is out there has been downloaded and stored on my dvds and hard disks.
By this law if someone can enter my house (legally) and do a search and take a legal action. I deserve to be in jail may be for the rest of my life. 

Nisha Thompson

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May 6, 2016, 2:24:20 AM5/6/16
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Let's all try to make a few main points and then start writing blogposts and opeds and push the conversation out to the public.

Anyone is free to blog on datameet and we can set up a medium channel as well. 

Nisha

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Amitangshu Acharya

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May 6, 2016, 2:26:13 AM5/6/16
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Dear All,

This is a very critical issue, that would have just happened this group not picked it up. I understand this will affect big corporations like Google too, and they will also try and do something about it. 

However, when the group comes up with a response which is easily understandable to all,  I would suggest we take it to Parliamentarians and journalists. That’s a longer term thinking, but we will have to do that soon as well.

Cheers

Amitangshu



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Nisha Thompson

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May 6, 2016, 2:34:54 AM5/6/16
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Does anyone know?

What do other countries geospatial policies and dissemination look like? 
How do others take care of internal security issues and border disputes?

Dilip Damle

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May 6, 2016, 3:36:57 AM5/6/16
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HI, 

I think there is a problem. (of wrong border) 
The problem is genuine.
But ....but 

The problem is NOT repeat NOT really caused by any vested interest. 


If we call a correct map (by what ever the gov says) like pure water.
Then this is the analogy I can think of. 

>>There is impure water out there ....

WHATTTTT Stop all water, tighten the taps, put locks. 

Let us see how dare the water becomes impure. 

>> Impure water is still dripping. What do we do? 

Catch them Put them in jail, put big fines .... whoever they, there should be NO impure water. ? 


>>>>> But sir .... (stammering) can we try opening the tap of pure water and let the impure water be diluted.

What the hell you are talking... Why do you think we have created the big reservoir of the Pure Himalayan Water in Dehradun. Just to give it for free??

Do not ever talk about that water. Tell no one. We need it for our Future generations and to make India a Superpower.


>>>> OK Sir.....But people are using American Pure water...... 


Let them use .... keep an eye. Then we will catch them and put them in Jail.


>>>> But they are our people sir ..... 

Have they paid the lincese fee?  Have they visited the our office  20 times ? Do they have a Liason officer?

>>> No they are just individuals ..... small people ...

Do not bother about  them look at those big companies, we have a lot of things to settle with them, this is a good excuse.

Small people do not need maps ...tell them to download and use A4 maps for schools . Why do they need GIS ? 
...

.... The argument could go on and on




we are moving in the 

Praachi Misra

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May 6, 2016, 4:03:46 AM5/6/16
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The law as it reads currently, is kafkaesque,. there are 4 different bodies being created, and nobody actually trying to subvert national security will contemplate seeking a licence. A map that can actually be utilised (not scanned copy of pdf) should solve the problem of boundaries.

We can only wonder..... why?

Praachi

Arun Ganesh

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May 6, 2016, 4:13:21 AM5/6/16
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The most ridiculous part of the bill is that it only applies to Indians or anyone in India. If someone wants high resolution photographs of sensitive Indian installations, they can still purchase it from anyone outside the country without issue, and thats where all the good data is anyway.

Apart from punishing our own citizens from contributing to the scientific development of the country, this bill achieves little else.

--
Arun Ganesh

shirish शिरीष

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May 6, 2016, 4:22:10 AM5/6/16
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at bottom :-

On 06/05/2016, Praachi Misra <misra....@gmail.com> wrote:
> The law as it reads currently, is kafkaesque,. there are 4 different bodies
>
> being created, and nobody actually trying to subvert national security will
>
> contemplate seeking a licence. A map that can actually be utilised (not
> scanned copy of pdf) should solve the problem of boundaries.
>
> We can only wonder..... why?
>
> Praachi
>

Hi all,

I read the draft bill and have the same concerns as everybody else.
Before I start further, the hackpad shared cannot be read anonymously,
could something be done about it.

https://datameet.hackpad.com/Geospatial-Bill-2016-zJwgcQaIvBq

I just don't want to join another platform just to read.

Quite simply, it seems it's being done so that GOI and ISRO's Bhuvan
have monopoly over all GIS, killing effectively all private as well as
community-based entities and interventions or only give licenses to
big businesses like Google and other such big private providers, (Here
maps come to mind) as well as those who are into mapping for Oil and
Gas Industry among others.

I *think* this is in line with the successful completion of IRSS
(Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System) due to putting IRSS-1G
into orbit.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IRNSS-1G
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Indian_Regional_Navigation_Satellite_System

Overall, this is going to make us poorer as citizens as this knowledge
would be curtailed.

This also seems to have implications for disaster management, for e.g.
the forest fires which happened in Uttarakhand.

Government would be able to manipulate all and any data on the maps
and we wouldn't know at all.

--
Regards,
Shirish Agarwal शिरीष अग्रवाल
My quotes in this email licensed under CC 3.0
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Dilip Damle

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May 6, 2016, 4:44:39 AM5/6/16
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Vaishnavi Jayakumar

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May 6, 2016, 7:27:12 AM5/6/16
to datameet, Sunil Abraham, nirmita.n

Sunil / Nirmita, could you please advise on the legal aspects of this asap?

How does this tie in with other citizen sharing egovernance initiatives like data.gov.in ?

Is this purely something to deal with the various 'versions' of the map of India as far as  Sino-Indian and Indo-Pak boundaries go?

Or does it permeate into the datameet space too?

--

Vaishnavi Jayakumar

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May 6, 2016, 7:33:19 AM5/6/16
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Thejesh,

I think DocumentCloud is fantastic.

Have enviously seen it used with great effect to annotate the disability bill.

If we have access to all its features we can build a solid case. While at the same time allowing free speech type commenting that no one can crib about.

Hackpad for non tech / programming types sounds a little intimidating, starting with its name!

Karthik Balakrishnan

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May 6, 2016, 2:51:44 PM5/6/16
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Hi folks,
I'm new here, I saw what you guys were doing(via @thej) and wanted to help in whatever way I can.

I made the site a little prettier, and a simple logo - http://karthikb351.github.io/savethemap.in/

I think this is still early days, but I have a few thoughts on how we should approach this if want to drum up support from the public. I think a simplified version of the bill with the implications for various stakeholders would be a good start. An open letter/response only makes sense if the public understands what the bill is about and how it matters to them.

@thej, @geohacker - Filed a PR - https://github.com/datameet/savethemap.in/pull/3

Best,

Karthik Balakrishnan

Vaishnavi Jayakumar (Inclusive India)

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May 7, 2016, 12:07:41 AM5/7/16
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We need to ask ourselves why the ONLY real regulatory legislation coming up on geospatial technology in India, is by the Ministry of Home Affairs, and not something more appropriate like Earth Sciences / IT etc

Some clues on its genesis below. Have after reading a decent analysis (that I can no longer find) on law in this area, have dumped relevant stuff with links on a hackpad 

This also provides a good regulatory brief SURVEY & MAPPING IN INDIA - THE REGULATORY FRAMEWORK and is a recommended read.



21-Mar-2016
Govt plans law on what can be seen in India from skies

Under the draft legislation — tentatively titled Geospatial Information Regulation Bill — disseminating, publishing or displaying information that is likely to affect “security, sovereignty or integrity” of the country will become a punishable crime, a senior government official told Hindustan Times.

The Centre is drafting a law to regulate data and high resolution images collected from the skies and shared through applications such as Google Earth, a move aimed at securing strategic installations from enemy eyes.

Under the draft legislation — tentatively titled Geospatial Information Regulation Bill — disseminating, publishing or displaying information that is likely to affect “security, sovereignty or integrity” of the country will become a punishable crime, a senior government official told Hindustan Times.

The term geospatial refers to data on a location collected through satellites, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), aircraft and balloons.

The Indian Space Research Organisation (Isro) has its own app called Bhuvan which provides geospatial data to the public. Many other applications give a 360-degree view of important towns and cities around the world which, security agencies believe, could be used by terrorist groups to plan attacks.

“A draft bill has been prepared and is being circulated among all stakeholders for their views to firm up the legislation,” said the official involved in drafting the bill. He spoke on the condition of anonymity.

“The idea is not to ban such applications but regulate them,” the official added. India has no specific law to regulate geospatial information despite security and privacy concerns, the official said.

Stressing that the company takes security very seriously, a Google spokesperson said: “We believe that geospatial information can be used to empower individuals and organisations to make positive contributions in their respective environments.”

Investigators who probed the 2008 Mumbai attack suspect that the terrorists were shown their targets on apps such as Google Earth by their handlers prior to the strike. The government so far has not allowed Google to take three-dimensional images of India.

The draft suggests establishing a security vetting authority to scrutinise applications of geospatial information or data providers that intend to put data in public domain. “Such a legislation is urgently required. If it is enacted and applied along with the Information Technology Act, it can help the government in regularising geospatial information or data,” said lawyer Pawan Duggal who specialises on cyber laws.



---------------------------------------
VAISHNAVI JAYAKUMAR
http://about.me/vjayakumar

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Devdatta Tengshe

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May 7, 2016, 10:42:32 AM5/7/16
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Hi,
I've updated the hackpad with a few FAQs, and also sent a PR for an update to the site with the same FAQs.

While we can have a detailed and more nuanced response from datameet, we should also think of having a template email on the savethemap.in site (similar to what was on the savetheinternet site), so that people can send an email from there. We know that mass emails do work. Some People are already asking for it: https://www.reddit.com/r/india/comments/4i8wbo/rindia_time_to_send_the_policymakers_another/

Regards,
Devdatta

Gagan Bansal

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May 8, 2016, 12:07:30 PM5/8/16
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On Thursday, May 5, 2016 at 11:06:40 PM UTC+5:30, Dilip Damle wrote:
> HI, 
>
> I was shocked to see this news today. 
>
> http://www.businessinsider.in/PoK-and-Arunachal-as-disputed-territories/articleshow/52129850.cms
>
>
>
>
> A part from the news 
>
> "To add to this, the Geospatial Information Regulation Bill would soon be brought to tables, and any person or institution acquiring and disseminating any geospatial imagery or data of any part of India through space or aerial platforms will be required to first seek permission and license from a government authority." 
>
> A so  a large part of what we are doing here will become Illegal
>
>
>
>
>
> Rgards 
> Dilip Damle

Hi,

Here are my observations:
# I feel if this bill is passed in partial/modified or full, not at all good for small companies/startup that are working on open source map data/OSM or creating geospatial data in some form. as big companies (International mapping companies or utility/telecom companies) can easily set up a division to liaison with licensing authority on monthly basis or as per requirement. But for small companies this would not be possible. So in any form of licensing is problematic.

# Another major point, In India most of the geospatial companies are service companies which are working for government agencies. So data ownership for such services would be with govt. agencies hence licensing policy is not applicable here and would not affect these companies. Most likely all research/educational institutions would not be included in licensing policy. So very small segment of industry is affected. To raise the voice there are very few people if we compare this bill with net neutrality bill.

So tackling the problem is not very simple.

We should put this issue that this bill is against "Digital India" and "Make in India" objective and I feel its truly against these.

Regards,
Gagan

Dilip Damle

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May 9, 2016, 1:08:46 AM5/9/16
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Or else all those small players will have to go Underground as happens in oppressive regimes.

shirish शिरीष

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May 9, 2016, 2:51:33 AM5/9/16
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Hi all,

As a layman user of maps, did my 2-bit.

https://flossexperiences.wordpress.com/2016/05/09/using-gps-without-license-jail-for-7-years/

People are welcome to critique it (I know it goes all over the place
and have added govt. conspiracy which some people might not be
comfortable with) .

Do have suggestion that if people do make blog posts that the least we
can do is do ping and linkback to each other, if for nothing but to
show solidarity in the cause.

My 2 paise :)

Avinash Celestine

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May 9, 2016, 4:22:42 AM5/9/16
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Also, i guess its worthwhile pointing out that if the primary aim is to prevent inaccurate depiction of India's borders and impose penalties on those who do, there is already existing legislation which does that.


Plus, the IT act too penalises wrong depiction of boundaries. 

it is worth looking at this piece from back in 2007, which talked about the possibility of such legislation:




Gagan Bansal

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May 9, 2016, 7:25:38 AM5/9/16
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Licensing policy will hamper the ISRO IRNSS-1G project or Navik called by PM as real time map updation would not be possible by any citizen.

Craig Dsouza

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May 9, 2016, 8:26:30 AM5/9/16
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I am in favour of a strong stance against this bill being passed in any form. There should be (almost) no compromises. The only regulation I can possibly support is regulating map providers so that they blank out all military areas, but this bill is much much larger in scope than that. We should directly raise the question of what goal is really achieved by this bill? Since ostensibly, the main purpose of the bill i.e. preserving the 'security, sovereignity and integrity of India' can still be threatened because geospatial data (satellite imagery etc) for India is still available to people outside India. 
Many have suggested that this is not really about integrity but representation i.e. international boundaries, to compel map providers to show India's boundaries, as declared by the GoI. This in fact Google already does, they show all of J&K as India's territory. Even if they don't in my opinion amounts to restriction on freedom of speech if you are not allowed to make a map showing that one part of the country is claimed by other governments, or a map showing that some people, somewhere are demanding a new state.
This bill will also severely affect NGOs which definitely cannot afford the process of licensing for every single map they wish to use/publish. It could also be used as a tool to silence dissent if organizations publish maps the government doesn't like.

The email template to be sent out is top priority. Is there someone already working on it? It should reject the bill altogether explaining why this bill doesn't really achieve its stated purpose and also how it will stifle GIS innovation in India.
The wording of the email template will need to be simple language, without tech jargon. 

inv...@diggie.io

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Jun 2, 2016, 6:47:21 AM6/2/16
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Hi guys,

The deadline for response to the bill is approaching fast so please do remember to send your emails for the Geospatial bill.
I have created http://diggie.io/savethemap.html to spread awareness about it and shared around. (Not sure if I will be able to do it again if the bill is accepted in its current form)
So please send your responses before the deadline.
 
Cheers,
Ankit
www.diggie.io

Hasan Ali Khan

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Jul 4, 2016, 1:32:22 PM7/4/16
to datameet
Guys,

Sorry if this has been covered elsewhere. I was following the STM initiative closely till the deadline but haven't been able to since. Has there been any update about this? Did they take note of the reservations raised?

Cheers!
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