Google contractors in India vandalize competitor Open Source Maps

Credit: filckr/zigazou76

A handful of foreign contractors were caught "abusing OSM data" for an Open Source company Google both competes against and supports.

OpenStreetMap follows the Wikipedia model of letting users edit their geolocation and mapping information. They recently noticed that malicious edits and data deletions came from the same range of IP addresses as recent violations against a Kenyan company, Mocality, where data was scraped. The addresses point to an Indian address owned by Google. Contractors, not Google employees, were identified as the likely culprits.

OpenGeoData, the group behind OpenStreetMaps, expressed being baffled by this, since Google supports OSM with data, as does MapQuest and Microsoft. But many find the timing of the vandalism troubling, since Google has announced new license fees for their Google Maps data to licensees, which analysts predict will push business to groups like OpenStreetMaps.

Rogue contractors at Google

Seems like if Google wanted to be Malicious they have the technical skills to not get caught.

Chady Aboulhosn on

There are lots of mistakes in Google Maps and Open Street Map. There is lots of vandalism in OSM all the time, and there are lots of new users who will make lots of mistakes when starting off.

rmc on

Google’s picking up the pieces of something that they didn’t do.

numberoneoppa on

Anyone who thinks that this sort of thing requires management approval from Google simply has no concept at all of how difficult it is to scale trust and supervision.

Eliezer on

Google has some responsibility

But either Google is hiring sleaze, or they're contracting to sleaze. This isn't a case of people doing one bad thing, it's several bad things. That means it's the type of person Google's working with. And the type of people you work with is definitely significant.

Steven Fisher on

Google’s fully responsible. The contract/employee basis for employment is immaterial here.

deemery on

many are rightly taking the position that Google has to be held responsible for actions of its contractors, which is a different thing. Google has taken the first steps, which is to sack those people.

teyc on


Don't be evil, outsource it instead.

Ryan Warner on

Google: Don’t Get Caught Being Evil(tm)


So much for those "anonymous edits" on crowd-sourced sites, right?

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