[Tagging] "Caution" on military pages

Graeme Fitzpatrick graemefitz1 at gmail.com
Thu Jan 21 22:06:40 UTC 2021

On Thu, 21 Jan 2021 at 18:40, Martin Koppenhoefer <dieterdreist at gmail.com>

> can you explain what it means? Usually someone would go to
> OpenStreetMap-Foundation when they have spotted information they do not
> like. Then the admins (or likely more precisely the board) would have to
> decide whether they will hand out the requested information (server logs,
> IPs, email address). Are there guidelines for this? To whom will they
> respond (British law enforcement? Other British authorities? Russian law
> enforcement? US law enforcement?) and whose requests would be generally
> denied? Are you completely on your own or will there be an attempt from
> OpenStreetMap-Foundation to protect their users?

To be honest, I don't think anybody could explain it for sure because
nobody actually knows for sure exactly what it means, because I have never
heard of it being tested? Anybody?

Repeating the message from Legal Group:

*"OSMF and LWG are not in a position to evaluate the laws of all countries
in which there may be mappers or mapping activity.*

* As the Terms of Use say:*
"You are responsible for your own actions: You are legally responsible for
your edits and contributions, so for your own protection you
should exercise caution and avoid contributing any content that may result
in criminal or civil liability under any applicable laws.
Although we may not agree with such actions, we warn editors and
contributors that authorities may seek to apply other countries’ laws
to you, including local laws where you live or where you view or edit
content. OSMF generally cannot offer any protection, guarantee,
immunity or indemnification."

* This general caution applies to both mapping of military installations as
well as mapping of other sensitive areas (or mapping/surveying in general).*

* I see no reason to alter the text of this paragraph. Feel free to link to
it or quote it in any wiki pages, but note that LWG does not regularly
review or monitor the contents of wiki pages for legal accuracy" *

& not having a go at you, Martin :-), but what's *your* interpretation of
what that means?

To me, it's saying it's up to *you* personally to make sure what you are
doing is legal in *your* country? I know I'm OK mapping military things in
Australia, but can't say what the rules are anywhere else (although I'm
pretty sure it'd also be OK in the UK, US & the EU?)

But I would also think that if "Somewhereia" saw that something was shown
on OSM that they didn't like, they would simply ask for it to be taken down
(which is what happens with Google Maps & images), rather than try to chase
the person who mapped it in the first place? That would get incredibly
messy very quickly, as I believe it would mean legal action being taken
through a British court, against "me", an Australian who has never actually
visited Somewhereia, on a charge of breaking Somewherian laws regarding


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