New York Police Demands Google To Remove DWI Checkpoints From Its App Waze

The New York Police Department, the largest force in the state, sent an official letter demanding Google to stop sharing DWI checkpoints in its app Waze as it allows drunks to drive with impunity.

What is Waze and why do people criticize it?

Source: The New York Times

Waze is a GPS navigation software app which was created and produced by multinational tech giant – Google. The app provides user with the real-time reports where the drunken-driving checkpoints and so-called “speed traps” are. These features are not available for all regions, it was reported by the website, who firstly discovered them this year. Though, the tech giant has never announced these features in public before.

Waze is unable to identify sobriety checkpoints, but people who use the app state that it leaves reports of detailed comments on the cartoonish icon of a mustachioed police officer that pops up. The example you can see in the right.

As we found out later, the Waze police checkpoints have been criticized for years, especially after two police officers from Brooklyn were attacked by killer who used the Waze app in 2014. France went even further by banning the disclosure of the locations of speed cameras and radar in 2017.

Some social activists are also concerned about the app, and how it may bring unsafety to the streets. One of them, Jonathan Rogers, shared his thoughts in Twitter:

A cease-and-desist letter to Google

On the 2nd of February, the NYPD sent an official letter stating that the app aids “impaired and intoxicated drivers to evade checkpoints and encourage reckless driving.”

The department’s acting deputy commissioner for legal matters, Ann P. Prunty, stated in the letter that “revealing the location of checkpoints puts those drivers, their passengers, and the general public at risk.” She also added that disclosure of sobriety checkpoints on Waze may be breaking the state’s D.W.I. laws. The Department will pursue all legal remedies to stop people and the company, in particular from sharing such information. Though, it is still unclear what legal steps might be taken.

Below you can peruse the document, the letter first was posted by Streetblog.

Source: Streetblog

Waze enables people to circumvent law enforcement

Jonathan F. Thompson, the executive director of the sheriffs’ association, claimed that Waze enables people to circumvent law enforcement. He said:

“Using crowdsourcing doesn’t stop you from breaking the law. It just allows you to be prevented from being arrested. That’s a direct undermining of the rule of law.”

The executive director said that there were other problems than possibly aiding drunken drivers, he is concerned that people who abduct children can use the app to avoid police checkpoints.

The official answer of Google

In Google’s official statement made on Wednesday, the company gave no indication that it would remove checkpoint locations from Waze.

“Safety is a top priority when developing navigation features at Google. We believe that informing drivers about upcoming speed traps allows them to be more careful and make safer decisions when they’re on the road.”

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