[OSM-talk] Use of OSM data by the military and/or intelligence services

Serge Wroclawski emacsen at gmail.com
Thu Feb 4 15:02:40 GMT 2010

On Thu, Feb 4, 2010 at 9:49 AM, Martin Koppenhoefer
<dieterdreist at gmail.com> wrote:
> AFAIK our current license offers our data for everyone who attributes
> correctly, but I'd like to raise the issue of malicious use of our
> data by governmental organisations.

This same issue exists with all Free Software. A "bad government" may
use it for "bad purposes"- but let's address this in two ways

1) Who is to say what bad is?

Some software in the 80s and 90s had in the license that it couldn't
be used in South Africa due to apartheid. Now apartheid is over, and
they still can't use the software. How silly.

Also, let's not begin to be moralistic with information that is
supposed to be freely available. Much like the software, OSM data is
free to everyone. It's free to people who believe the same things I
do, and free to people who believe things I don't.

I would not feel comfortable if those I disagreed with began not
letting me use their data, after all.

OSM should not be punitive. The only requirements are those put forth
in the license.

2) Most governments have far better data than what's in OSM.

When you're a military, things like centimeter accuracy really matter.
OSM isn't anywhere close to that accurate in most places.

- Serge

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