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This happens pretty much everywhere with every online map. Kashmir, Taiwan, Western Sahara, etc. etc. Apple doing it for one country is not particularly news.

The only major-league mapping site I know that doesn't do local alterations is OpenStreetMap, and that's because OSM's attitude is "you want the map to show something else? sure, download the raw data and host your own instance".

I learned early in my web dev career that the India northern map one is a very touchy subject if you intend to target Indians with your web service.

You have to be careful not to take some random map off the internet when using them in the design.

Obligatory The Old New Thing link: https://devblogs.microsoft.com/oldnewthing/20030822-00/?p=42...

> The time zone map met a similar fate. The Indian government threatened to ban all Microsoft software from the country because we assigned a disputed region to Pakistan in the time zone map. (Any map that depicts an unfavorable border must bear a government stamp warning the end-user that the borders are incorrect. You can’t stamp software.) We had to make a special version of Windows 95 for them.

What are the issues at play in northern India?

Kashmir has been disputed between India and Pakistan for several decades now.

And China

Has anybody thought of asking the people of the disputed region which country they’d like to be a part of?

Nope, you're the first human in history who has thought of that.

Sarcasm aside, it's because India knows it'd lose in the referendum. The area is >60% Muslim, India has committed some horrible atrocities in the area, and there's just no way the majority of people there today would vote for India (decades ago, it would have been the opposite).

Hence, India will do anything it can for the referendum to just not happen.

> India has committed some horrible atrocities in the area

Hah. Boiler plate blame-the-other-of-your-faults strategy.

e.g. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Exodus_of_Kashmiri_Hindus

Ethnic cleansing of Hindus who were mass-exoded out of their homelands through threat of murder and rape via public loudspeakers in the 90s.

Innumerable terrorist attacks perpetrated by Pak ISI instigated and based agents ever since Independence, through Operation Gibraltar.


Kashmir was divided in partition in 1947. Pakistan didn't like it. They invaded Kashmir. Indian army held them at current Line of Actual Control. Since then they've been attacking it.

Rape is a blotch to be condemned. It's been a unfortunate side effect of every war ever fought, by both sides. WWII - Germany vs Russia, and Russia vs Germany, for example.

Taken from Human Rights Watch Report - "Rape in Kashmir: A Crime of War" 1993: "In some cases, women have been raped by militant forces as a way of punishing other family members believed to be informers or suspected of opposing the militants. In other cases, members of armed militant groups have abducted women and raped them after threatening or murdering other members of the family."

Terrorism is a huge infestation problem, especially in Kashmir Every country has to deal with it strong-handedly as a duty. Every country since the beginning of time has introduced curfews and curbed liberty for security (TSA screenings hello?) for peace keeping. It's no secret the benefits outweigh the risks for the majority of peaceful population.

Kashmir is also a defensible natural barrier with a lot of mountains. If it's surrendered to Pakistan, that likely makes it harder for India to defend itself. That's not a justification, but it's a reason for India to want to keep it above and beyond the interests of the people-in-Kashmir-who-want-to-stay-part-of-India.

It's kind of similar to Crimea (maintains access to the Black Sea) and, in historical terms, Thrace or East Prussia or Gdansk. In fact, after both World Wars people kind of decided it was easier to relocate people behind whatever borders were strategically agreed upon rather than try and build borders around which country the people already living there wanted to live in.

> India has committed some horrible atrocities in the area,

Not only is that an oversimplification, but it is also plain wrong at so many levels (but it is the lie that has been spun for a long time now). Successive govts. helmed by a certain sell out (Indian) political party had systematically worked against Indian interests by not only not challenging this false narrative, but actually tacitly endorsing it, until recently. Embarrasingly, people like Tulsi Gabbard have been more sympathetic and supporting of the facts behind the incidents, and calling out the false media spin. But this support has led to India waking up and becoming more assertive in calling out lies and facing more facts on the table for all to see.. See this latest video from Tom Lantos meeting:


Edit: should read sell out Indian political party

Don‘t be crazy /s/

Yes, and 97% of Crimea voted to be part of Russia.


It's interesting that all of the prior polling by relatively politically neutral organizations (UNDP, Razumkov Centre), even dating back to 2009-2011 before the civil war, showed widespread support for at a minimum secession from Ukraine, including multiple polls showing a majority supporting joining Russia (consistently 65% to 70% in favour) yet the whole idea of Crimeans having a voice in their own statehood was rejected outright by the UN and others.

> Razumkov characterized Crimeans' views as controversial and unsteady, and therefore vulnerable to internal and external influences.

It's true the Russian run referendum is probably a very corruptible process and unreliable but there's no clear indication that the majority of Crimeans were actually against the idea. Which IMO should matter more than what the foreign UN diplomats and think-tanks believe is best for them.

> Gallup poll found only 1.7% of ethnic Russians and 14.5% of ethnic Ukrainians living in Crimea thought that the referendum results didn't accurately reflect the views of the Crimean people.

The other side of it is whether that even matters with in the context of Ukraine's sovereignty and other issues of statehood. Plus referendums should probably not be happening in moments of anarchy. But it's not a good look for the west when trying to win them over by blaming Russian interference while glossing over potentially legitimate local support.

A big problem is that in Crimea, divisions go across ethnic lines. Crimean Tatars are a minority there, and so they get outvoted in any referendum, but for them the difference between Crimea being in Russia vs Ukraine is the difference between their autonomy and culture being respected or suppressed. One of the first things that Russia did after annexing Crimea was going after most Crimean Tatar activists and organizations under the guise of fighting extremism and separatism. So the choice is between majoritarianism and human rights, and there's no way to reconcile them.

The other aspect of it is that separatism is illegal under Russian law, period. So, ironically, while it was legal - from the Russian perspective - for Crimea to join, it is not legal for it to leave, or to contemplate leaving. Even vaguely suggesting that there should be a referendum on independence is deemed "extremism", and there are laws making that illegal (and people have been prosecuted under those laws, specifically wrt Crimea).

There was "potentially legitimate local support" from Germans living in Danzig and the Czech Sudetenland, too. The overriding principle of international law is that you shouldn't use your army to invade neighboring countries.

Indeed, it would be far more defensible if they merely seceded themselves instead of joining the bigger guy next door, with the direct intervention of their army beforehand.

I'm a big fan of smaller states and more localized governments which closer reflect the people (see: Canada, Scandinavia, Singapore, Taiwan, HK, South Korea, etc). Few people talk about the US's massive population, economic, size/scale of modern western governments growth vs the past when talking about today's political and class divides.

So my general point is that the needs/wants of the Crimeans themselves shouldn't be merely tossed aside and ignored just because Russia played a role. Especially if we're trying to prevent this from happening again. Taking the UN's elitist evil Russian boogieman approach leaves the world more vulnerable to this sort of thing, not less. Just like with ISIS/Iraq/Syria, the locals needs matter a lot more than we give them credit.

Ukrainians didn't think that Russians are evil boogiemen and look what happened to them. Better safe than sorry.

Did you not follow the whole Ukraine civil war where the entire point was the gov was going non-NATO and pro-Russian? The vast majority of Ukraine stood up to Russia at significant costs to themselves.

I agree with a lot of anti-Russian stuff (their overarching geopolitical approach not the hysteria that’s used as a political tool in the west), but that's a very strange counter-example to use...

The earlier Ukrainians had started kicking out Russian agents the lesser loss of lives and territories they would've suffered. They hesitated because they didn't see Russia as an enemy.

Right. You should only invade far away countries in the middle east.

International law used to be European law, now it's American law. And perhaps it will be Chinese law, in 50 years.

I suspect that this number is much higher. 127% maybe.

Only organizations that need to operate under the graces of an authority (for reasons of physical or financial security) are beholden to that authority. A volunteer organization in US (or wherever OSM is) has nothing to lose to Russia, India, China, etc.

Russia, China, etc could still block OSM at a firewall if they choose.

> A volunteer organization in US (or wherever OSM is)

The OpenStreetMap Foundation, which supports the OpenStreetMap project, and owns the domain name, trademarks & hardware, is registered in England & Wales

I think the real reason is that OSM is, practically speaking, not important enough for countries to bother with censoring it.

Public Data should be open and anyone can run their own policies on integrating crowdsourced changes.

One company hosting the data centrally is responsible for dealing with multiple parties and figuring out a resolution. Often the parties have little recourse but to fine it or block it.

We see similar issues when Facebook is blasted by Germany for not censoring a post and by the Trump administration for censoring a similar post. The guys in their boiler room use Google Translate to see if a post in another language is offensive, which is ironic since Facebook is using a Google tool internally.

A more pointed example is when the SESTA / FOSTA bill was passed last year to require platforms to police child pornography being posted and the EFF and other free speech advocates were actually up in arms about it, saying that puts undue burdens on facebook and other platforms which are far too big.

The problem is why are they too big? Because they run all the software and don’t give it to us. And open source software isn’t good enough to compete with what they have. Look at HN, it is able to add whatever rules it needs to police stuff, and runs on Arc.

That’s why Wordpress, Magento, OSM are so important. Eventually they will copy everything the centralized players have and you can CUSTOMIZE them with a marketplace of plugins. Like how the Web replaced AOL.

We need REAL open source alternatives to facebook. What are they today?

>We need REAL open source alternatives to facebook. What are they today?

GNU Social/Mastodon is by far the most widespread today. It's more like Twitter. (Mastodon is a more modern implementation of the GNU Social protocol, which in turn is the descendent of the Identica mess.)

There was also Diaspora, but that never really caught on.

They are too big because they lock in your social graph. This has very little to do with open source vs proprietary software. FB could be entirely open source, but so long as it's as popular as it is, and there's no way to interact with its users other than joining FB yourself, it's going to remain a monopoly.

To break it up, you need to force them into providing outside access. If and when people can run e.g. Diaspora, but seamlessly interact with people on Facebook, Diaspora would become a lot more popular. Think of email, or XMPP and Matrix federation.

Or we can just break them up physically, on the basis that no single entity should control that much of the market, and have that much dominance.

I find this argument pretty funny, because despite all the borders if you look at Crimea on OSM, it looks Russian alright: cities have Ukrainian spelling on the Ukraine part of the map and Russian on the Crimea.

IIRC OSM's attitude is "map what's on the ground", so if people in Crimea believe they are in Russia that's what OSM should show.

To that end, there are proposals for OSM to handle disputed boundaries.


The idea is that OSM captures the multiple views of the boundary in dispute, allowing the user to choose their rendering.

Whilst good in theory, it's probably not different to other's approach in practise. Thinking people can choose to see a boundary as disputed, whilst nationalists on either side can choose to see it as soley theirs, thus amplifying their own echo chamber. The main difference from others is that the choice of rendering is potentially up to the individual, due to the availability of all the data, but in practise most people will be using a provider who has already made the choice for them.

Those "disputed" territories are still information though. In OSM's case, I might want to know which territories are disputed, and in what ways they are. You could give out that info.

Yes, that's OSM's usual rule, but an exception was made for Crimea, and it is mapped as part of Ukraine & Russia (overlapping borders)

> This happens pretty much everywhere with every online map. Kashmir, Taiwan, Western Sahara, etc. etc. Apple doing it for one country is not particularly news.

Exactly. Couple days ago, I have entered "Palestine" into google maps. It did not highlight any territory and just showed me generic location of Middle East. On mobile it did not relocate map view at all.

AFAIK with disputed territories it was always like that - it depends what you search and from where you search. Names, borders will be different and IMO it's fine as reality is that regarding locations there's sometimes no clear answer who controls it and what name it has.

IIRC there's an island on a river in Europe where it is exchanged between countries weekly (or daily, don't remember)..

But the Palestine example shows that it does not happen with every disputed territory in the world. If you are living in a country that has recognized Palestine and has diplomatic relations the state (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/International_recognition_of_t...) it would make sense that "Palestine" would show up on the map. But it doesn't show up either on Google's, Apple's or Bing's map.

Pheasant Island on the river Bidassoa that runs between France and Spain; administration of the island switches every six months. It has since 1659 when Louis xiv and Philip iv signed the peace Treaty of the Pyrenees on the island. It is a different situation IMO for it has clear and settled ownership, that being both. Accessed by boat,and on it some trees and grass; it has little intrinsic value to either sovereign or local population. It is seen as the place were towns share the duty of cutting the grass. It's not a tourist spot of any sort.

"The Island That Switches Countries Every Six Months", Half as Interesting: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mJZs_VLx6p4

Baidu map shows Taiwan as a province of China wherever you are....which probably contributed to it not being major league.

Yep, there's been some academic work like MapWatch (2016) [0] on tracking the differences in how different providers present different borders in different regions over time.

[0] https://dl.acm.org/citation.cfm?id=2883016

Oddly when viewed from Australia it doesn’t show our one and only disputed territorial claim, the Australian Antarctic Territory.

I guess Aussies just don’t complain enough to be worth pandering to.

What’s disputed in the Western Sahara?

Some land disputed betweens Morocco and independantist Polisario front.

Or more specifically: the Polisario Front claims the whole of Western Sahara as an independent country, Morocco claims the whole of Western Sahara as an integral part of Morocco; Polisario Front has stable de facto control over a large but barely-inhabited inland portion of Western Sahara with the majority including all the coast being Moroccan-controlled, and Western mapping tends to gloss over it by treating Western Sahara as a single sometimes-unnamed entity with a soft border with the widely-recognised territory of Morocco.

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