Google accused of map vandalism

Posted by Emma Woollacott

The Google staff responsible for lying about Kenyan rival Mocality have been accused of other dirty tricks.

OpenStreetMap, a collaborative map of the world and competitor to Google Maps, says it's detected activity from Google IP address ranges in India.

Google staff have been deleting, moving and editing OSM data, including deleting major roads and reversing one-way streets, it claims.

"The most obvious vandalism started around last Thursday last week from these particular users; however it may take us some time to do a full analysis," says the OpenStreetMap blog.

"In fact, over the last year we have had over 102 thousand hits on OSM using at least 17 accounts from this Google IP."

The organization declares itself baffled by the actions, given it's previous good relationship with Google.

Google's owned up to the Kenyan misdeeds, implying it's already at least some way towards identifying the staff responsible. If true, the map-fiddling will be one more thing to charge them with. One wonders what else they've been up to?

UPDATE: Google's given us a a statement: "The two people who made these changes were contractors acting on their own behalf while on the Google network. They are no longer working on Google projects."