South Korea denies Google's request to use mapping data out of country

South Korea denies Google's request to use mapping data out of countryThe South Korean government decided to reject Google's latest request for permission to use government mapping data in servers outside the country because of security concerns, Yonhap news agency reported on Friday.

The Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport, which supervises mapping policy, made a decision after holding a meeting with officials from 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 to come up with supplementary measures to relieve security concerns, but Google did not accept this," it added.

The Seoul government has said it may allow Google to use the government-supplied maps if it deletes or blurs sensitive and military facilities on the maps, including the presidential office Cheong Wa Dae.

"We're disappointed by this decision," Google spokesman Taj Meadows said in a statement, adding that the company remains hopeful it will be able to provide people in Korea with the full suite of Google Maps services in the future.

For Google the government-supplied map data is essential in South Korea, one of the world's most wired nations, to offering full-fledged mapping services, including vehicle navigation and driving directions. Google currently offers only 20 percent of the total service in the country.

Google first made the same request in 2010, but it was rejected by the government due to South Korea's controversial 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.
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