Google is disappointed with the South Korea's decision in rejecting the expansion of the digital map. The country is not allowing Google to use local mapping data in the company's global maps service in a long-awaited ruling Friday that had divided the country for months. The land ministry said Friday that concerns about national security outweighed benefits from exporting the country's mapping data to Google, a unit of Alphabet Inc.
"We're disappointed by this decision. We've always taken security concerns very seriously and will continue to provide useful map services in compliance with Korea's current map data export regulation," Taj Meadows, a Google spokesperson, said in a statement.
According to The New York Times, South Korea, facing the overt threat of rival North Korea, bars exporting local mapping data to foreign companies that do not operate domestic data servers. Google, a unit of Alphabet Inc., handles its maps service at data centers outside South Korea. The restrictions have limited the usefulness of Google Maps within South Korea since the app cannot offer driving or walking directions.
"Our position from the start was that if it deletes security facilities, we would allow exporting (the local mapping data)," said Kim Tong-il, an official at the land ministry. "Google's position is that it won't delete those. The question was whether we would allow that regardless."
As reported by Business Insider, South Korea is divided over the issue. Opponents argue that giving Google a license would be unfair to local companies. Supporters said South Korea needs to promote innovation and new services.
"What is most regrettable is that it could delay introducing innovative mapping services in South Korea and as a result, South Korea could be left behind in the global competition," Kwon Bom-jun, a Google engineer, said in the company's official blog in August.