The Coca-Cola Company (NYSE:KO) has been accused of improperly using location-finding technology and thereby violating the restrictions on map-making, by Chinese authorities.
The soft drink maker told that it is cooperating with investigators. The Coca-Cola Company (NYSE:KO) told that some of its bottling plant trucks used location technology, which is widely used commercially, to enhance the efficiency of deliveries. However, the deputy director of the national surveying agency told that the company’s employees were found improperly using handheld global positioning system devices.
"We understand that espionage is a serious charge against a world famous company," an official from the administration told the South China Morning Post. "We are still in the process of gathering information."
According to China National Radio website there have been 21 similar cases reported in Yunnan involving companies using GPS devices to scratch out classified information.
The Chinese government has accused dozens of people in recent years, including foreign geologists and other scientists, of violating its mapping restrictions. In October, the state newspaper China Daily reported that the surveying administration reported 40 cases of illegal surveying between 2006 and 2011 with most cases in border areas like Xinjiang region in the northwest.
Xue Feng, an American geologist, was sentenced to eight years in prison in 2010, accusing him of buying data about locations of Chinese oil wells. However, his lawyer claimed that the data was commercially available.
China is very strict on map-related activities for both national security concerns and political sensitivities of its borders. As per the law in China, map services provider for websites and mobile phones must get the government approval to place their servers within China.
The Chinese government has been regularly accusing the foreign map producers of failing to respect its sovereignty over Taiwan and most of the South China Sea. The authorities have also amended the national law last year related to surveying. As per the changed law creators of maps can be jailed and fined if they "fail to demonstrate China's complete territory."
China is working on its plans to design its own satellite navigation system called Beidou using military satellites for commercial navigation. The authorities plan to launch the system in 100 cities across China by 2020. The case is being investigated jointly by China's National Administration of Surveying, Mapping and Geo-information and the Ministry of State Security.