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There are yet another side to all this

There are yet another side to all this

Posted Oct 23, 2008 2:40 UTC (Thu) by flewellyn (subscriber, #5047)
In reply to: There are yet another side to all this by khim
Parent article: OpenStreetMap contemplates licensing

I'm a bit confused...why would possession of a street map be a jailable offense in any jurisdiction?


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There are yet another side to all this

Posted Oct 23, 2008 3:56 UTC (Thu) by felixfix (subscriber, #242) [Link]

Military secrets. It is a widespread rumor that maps in the Soviet Union were illegal for civilians, and it certainly seems plausible. Britain in WW II took down or misdirected road signs in rural areas to make it that much harder for German invaders to find their way around.

There are yet another side to all this

Posted Oct 23, 2008 3:57 UTC (Thu) by flewellyn (subscriber, #5047) [Link]

Sure, but in this age of satellite imaging and global information networks, how well would such measures actually work?

There are yet another side to all this

Posted Oct 23, 2008 4:24 UTC (Thu) by felixfix (subscriber, #242) [Link]

In this age of global information networks, how well does censorship work?

Why you would expect any dictatorship to be modern and up to date in their thinking is beyond me.

Not very well at all - it does not mean you'll not be jailed

Posted Oct 23, 2008 5:26 UTC (Thu) by khim (subscriber, #9252) [Link]

Compare this and this. Note: both maps contain kind of "black hole" in the middle of the town. Sure: it's some kind of top-sikrit object. I'm pretty sure appropriate Google search reveal which object exactly - but it does not mean you'll not be jailed for possesion of map of that object.

It does not work as military precaution but it works very well indeded if you want to punish someone :-)

404 - black hole not found...

Posted Oct 27, 2008 14:54 UTC (Mon) by hummassa (subscriber, #307) [Link]

I think your tup-sikrit installation is not a lot tup-sikrit anymore, because I can't see any black holes, not in Google Maps, and not in Yandex...

Stange - I can see it clearly.

Posted Oct 27, 2008 18:15 UTC (Mon) by khim (subscriber, #9252) [Link]

Have you really expected BLACK hole? Oh, silly me. It's GRAY. Big difference there. See "ulitsa Tihonravova"? See buildings across the street? On other side - there are numbers 28,30,32,36,38/2, 40, 42. On the other side... On satellite there are over 20 building of different sizes. On the map... nothing. Huge gray blob. WHY these buildings are not marked? Yup: that's top-sikrit object in question. MCC to be exact.

Just like another example it's pointless and stupid. Yet it's law.

There are yet another side to all this

Posted Oct 23, 2008 5:18 UTC (Thu) by afalko (guest, #37028) [Link]

Correct me if I am wrong, but I would assume that maps of all sorts were legal in the USSR, except to be considered fact they would have to be made and authorized by the state. If you happened to make a map of a military secret, you'd probably vanish into thin air at the hands of the KGB, but that is a different matter.

Today in Russia, I would except you to be allowed to use OSM and OSM's license would likely be enforced to the furthest extends of the law (which IMO would not be a great extent). However, you probably will get in deep trouble if you submit gps mappings containing perceived military secrets.

If you use openssh in Russia, then legally you are committing a crime, as you are not allowed to use encryption tools without permission from the government. Once again, it comes down to enforcement. From what I know, just about every corporation in Russia skimps on taxes. The government does not really care much unless you get out of line, in which case you're going to find yourself behind bars for the tax evasion everyone commits.

Anyway, back on topic, you should be OK submitting maps to OSM in Russia, but just don't start submitting GPS mappings of your attempts to find Nuclear warheads :).

It's not legal to OWN map - it's illegal to CREATE map

Posted Oct 23, 2008 8:23 UTC (Thu) by khim (subscriber, #9252) [Link]

Map ownership is not restricted. Map creation is. It's kinda hard to point to someone who owns the license (granted by Russian government) for OSM... All other maps (especially printed ones but also Google Maps or Yandex Maps) have pointer to someone who owns the license.

That being said I'm pretty sure induvidual users will not be jailed, but Linux distributors who include OMS data on the CD... that's another question altogether :-)

There are yet another side to all this

Posted Oct 23, 2008 10:12 UTC (Thu) by lysse (guest, #3190) [Link]

Although as someone who grew up in a rural area of England, I can attest to that gesture being largely superfluous...

WW II road signs in rural England

Posted Oct 24, 2008 15:49 UTC (Fri) by giraffedata (subscriber, #1954) [Link]

as someone who grew up in a rural area of England, I can attest to that gesture being largely superfluous...

Superfluous how? It didn't make it harder for Germans to get around, or Germans weren't going to be there?

WW II road signs in rural England

Posted Oct 24, 2008 17:54 UTC (Fri) by Hawke (guest, #6978) [Link]

I would assume the GP was talking about the road signs being useless anyway...

There are yet another side to all this

Posted Oct 24, 2008 11:49 UTC (Fri) by gdt (subscriber, #6284) [Link]

There was a conviction of Faheem Khalid Lodhi in Australia in 2003 for "possessing things connected with terrorist acts". The "thing" was a map of an Australian state's electricity grid. See Regina v Lodhi [2006] NSWSC 691.

Lodhi's map was not a street map, but major transmission links and substations could well appear in OpenStreetMap as they are particularly good reference points in rural areas.

There are yet another side to all this

Posted Oct 24, 2008 14:20 UTC (Fri) by flewellyn (subscriber, #5047) [Link]

Yes, but given the state of race relations in Australia (not much better than the US), I imagine his real crime was being Muslim.

There are yet another side to all this

Posted Jan 17, 2011 12:14 UTC (Mon) by wookey (subscriber, #5501) [Link]

The greeks are paranoid about maps too, and appear to treat them as weapons. I don't know the actual law, but I do know that high-res maps are pretty-much unobtainium (or were a few years ago), and that you could get into trouble for distributing them (we were cavers that needed a good map - the only way we could even look at one was to find a freindly person at a road-building company who could show us his (but definately _not_ hand it over).

And recall what happened to some UK plane spotters a few years back for a general idea of the paranoia level. http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/greek-cour...

You can see the remnants of this 'maps are military' meme in the UK, where the mapping agency is still called the 'Ordnance Survey' (ordnance is bombs and missiles). Mapping was once an almost exclusively military activity. A few countries haven't quite got past this to accept that it's incredibly useful for everyone and that military/state control of mapping is no longer possible.


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