Monday, March 3, 2008

Recent Press Reports on Spatial Law Matters

The following link is to an Indian newspaper account of how Indian authorities still attempt to control maps of the country - particularly maps of its borders - from being imported into the country via foreign magazines. Another example of the power of maps - and the measures that governments and nations will take to control access to them.

In a somewhat related matter, at least in my mind, is a link to an editorial in a New London, Connecticut newspaper regarding a controversial bill in the state legislature. According to the article, one part of the bill entitled “An Act Exempting Certain Public Service Company Records and Adjusting the Cost of Obtaining Public Records” would allow public utilities to restrict access to certain information for homeland security purposes. The second part of the bill relates to government outsourcing of data collection, including spatial data. Under the Connecticut Freedom of Information Act, state agencies are limited on what they can charge the public for the data once it has been collected. However, the proposed law would allow the cost of providing information to the public to be defined in the contract between the state or other government agency and the private contractor.

I have not studied the bill in great detail and have mixed feelings with regards to the opinions expressed in the editorial piece. However, I will point out that one of the unique aspects of spatial data is that it can have many uses. For example, a single data set can be useful for both homeland security purposes as well as for commercial or academic purposes. Any attempts to restrict or limit access to spatial data for one purpose, may have unintended consequences for other applications and uses.


Justin Bronn said...

The controversial bill is available online via the Connecticut General Assembly.

I wonder if the proposed legislation is a reaction to the Connecticut Supreme Court ruling in Dir., Dep’t of Info. Tech. of Greenwich v. Freedom of Info. Comm’n, 874 A.2d 785 (Conn.

Kevin said...


Thanks for the link to the bill. Good question. My sense, as is yours it appears, is that they are related, particularly the first part of the bill.