Coca-Cola will be investigated by the Chinese government for misusing GPS data in a case that appears to be linked to modern espionage fears, the South China Morning Post reports.
According to Coca-Cola, the company uses a standard GPS tracking tool to improve the efficiency of their deliveries.
Chinese investigators, however, claim that employees of the company in China's Yunnan Province were improperly using the handheld GPS devices. One Chinese law enforcement official said that Coca-Cola's technology was so sophisticated that the government couldn't analyze it.
According to reports on Chinese media sites, Coca-Cola is just one of 21 companies facing investigation.
The SCMP notes that the involvement of National Administration of Surveying, Mapping and Geoinformation and the Ministry of State Security reveals how seriously the case is being taken.
In an interview with China Radio International earlier this week, Li Pengde, an official with a national mapping agency, did not allude to Coca-Cola, but he did allude to the possibility of mapping technology being used for international espionage.
“Some people seek personal benefits through collecting that information," Li said. "We can’t rule out that some gave that information to foreign intelligence agencies.”
GPS technology is a touchy subject in China for a variety of reasons. For political reasons, the geographical extent of its borders is a touchy subject, and some in Beijing are concerned that GPS tracking could be used to guide strikes to key military sites.
Coca-Cola says it is cooperating with the investigation.
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