The South Korean government has come under fire from Google over restrictions to the company’s mapping facilities.
Alphabet Inc, Google’s parent company, has challenged the South Korean government over restrictions that limit mapping services offered in Korea.
South Korean national security laws prohibit Google from exporting mapping data from Korea, a restriction that the company says limits their ability to offer their full range of Google mapping services to the local market.
However, South Korean officials maintain the restrictions are necessary as they have been designed specifically with a North Korean threat in mind.
“The main point is national security,” says Kim Tong-il, an official at South Korea’s Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport.
Google executives have accused South Korea of using the law to unfairly advantage local services such as Naver and Kakao Corp., who only use government-supplied maps that ensure sensitive areas are blurred or camouflaged.
South Korean law blocks companies from exporting government-supplied map data, which Google maintains is crucial for offering features like driving directions, public transit information and satellite maps.