Tuesday, December 09, 2008

On Google Earth, Mumbai and the PIL

Its been recently reported (e.g. in TOI) that a PIL has been filed in a Mumbai court for complete ban on Google Earth and other related mapping services in India (not sure if it include GPS too), under the pre-text that these maps were used for planning the recent attack on Mumbai.

Though appearing to be logical at the first look, it is a completely flawed argument for banning a free and extremely useful service for the general public like Google Earth. To me Google Earth and especially Google Maps (mobile version) has been extremely useful in going to places in recent times, and I guess it is so for a large number of people too. Given the lack of accurate maps available form the government it self, I think private services like these (which are in fact free) are extremely useful. Many technologies like Google Earth are many a times dual use technologies, you can benefit from them and at the same time be harmful to you. But this does not mean that we stop using Petrol since it pollutes our environment. If we go by the argument presented by the respected Advocate Amit Karkhanis, we would end up even banning Petrol!! To me this is highly illogical, and higher judiciary should take a correct decision.

With due respect to the unfortunate people caught up in the Mumbai attack, I must say that a technology or service cannot be banned, for good. Only it should be used with caution.

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