Google parent Alphabet Inc. is challenging the South Korean government over restrictions to its mapping services in the country, which renders some maps less informative than those for North Korea.
Google contends that South Korea’s national-security laws, which were designed to protect the country against infiltration from North Korea, are outdated and unfairly inhibit the company’s ability to offer the full range of its Google Map services in South Korea.
South Korea is among a handful of countries where Google isn’t the No. 1 search engine, alongside China and Russia.
In South Korea, Naver, owned by Naver Corp., is the leader in search and in mapping. “The main point is national security,” said Kim Tong-il, an official at South Korea’s Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport, which oversees mapping policy.
Kim said Google’s domestic Korean rivals, Naver and Kakao Corp., only use government-supplied maps that already have had sensitive installations blurred or camouflaged. Google representatives contend that the national-security laws in South Korea unfairly benefit local competitors in the country of about 50 million people. The government maintains that national security is the laws’ sole purpose.
Source: Market Watch