China draws the curtains a bit tighter. New restrictions for online maps.

China draws the curtains a bit tighter.  New restrictions for online maps.

ReadWriteWeb caught wind of a story on Xinhua that manages to be shocking and completely unsurprising all at once.

According to the article, the State Bureau of Surveying and Mapping feels that some online maps are detrimental to the country’s national security.  With that in mind, China will be implementing some tougher standards regarding maps published online.

To be in accordance with the new standards, any map must be hosted within the confines of the country, on a server that has no history of security breaches within the past 3 years.  The rest of this year will be spent weeding out content that doesn’t adhere to these rules.

At best estimate, there are roughly 42,000 Internet map sites that are based in China.  As that number continues to grow, so too do information leaks that the Chinese government would like to prevent.  The penalties are fairly steep: violating any law regarding State secrets can leave the person jailed up to seven years, or up to 10 years if the crime involves military secrets.

It seems a bit paradoxical for China to be cracking down on maps.  For thousands of years, China has been known for its beautifully drawn, intricate maps.  More recently, the country has been focusing on mapping more remote locations, such as the moon and Antarctica.

This post is part of our contributor series. The views expressed are the author's own and not necessarily shared by TNW.

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