June 18, 2006

EU gaffe could expose the Navy's chart secrets

The EU Parliament has voted in an amendment to a bill on regulations related to national mapping organisations. They wanted to make sure that all the data was released for free on the internet, which would be nice. But could have ended up giving any potential enemies useful information about the possible patrol routes of Tridant, and bankrupted Ordinance Survey. This being the directly elected EU Parliament there is no way that the clause will end up in the final bill that gets sent back to the national legislatures for lead plating. But still why exactly where they legislating on this in the first place? Why exactly is the exact relationship between a country and whatever organisation they use for cartography an issue best set at the EU level. There might be an argument for a data exchange format, like the already existing ISO/TC 211 standard. There might be an argument for a set of standard API's and protocols so that the software that uses the data can easily get it from any EU country, like the already existing OGC standards. There is certainly an argument that this is none of the EU's business at all. Perhaps somebody should point them to the concept of subsidiarity, only the things that absolutely need it are supposed to happen at the federal level, with everything else happening at the level closest to the people as possible. Not the way the EU actually operates where it attempts to get everything to happen at the federal level, starting with the things that should be happening at the closest level to the people possible.


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