May 2016 31

Flash talk on Geospatial Information Regulation Bill

HillHacks, Dharamshala

The Ministry of Home Affairs released ‘Geospatial Information Regulation Bill’ on 4th May for public comments. The Bill affects functioning of businesses in many sectors, as well as the application of maps for several non-commercial uses like disaster relief. Individual uses of location information via smart phones and GPS devices, use of mapping by many communities as a tool to claim rights, are all hit because of this ill-thought-out legislation. Nayantara from the Internet Democracy Project gave a flash talk on the bill, and the reasons that it is problematic for different groups.

The Bill criminalises any acquisition/​dissemination/​publication/​distribution of geospatial information of any part of the country. Penalties for violation range upto a shocking 100 crores in fine, and 7 years of imprisonment. It creates a Security Vetting Authority, which would act as a licensee for use of any geospatial information, and an Enforcement Authority with wide powers of surveillance and monitoring on the basis of mere suspicion of contravention of provisions.