(The AEGIS Alliance) – Google received a cease and desist letter sent by the New York Police Department (NYPD) this last week. The letter demanded that google stopped allowing its GPS apps customers to report police checkpoints and locations.
Popular GPS apps Google Maps and Waze were brought up in the letter. Waze was mentioned regarding allowing users to share information about hazards on the road and where police are located. The app lets drivers know the exact location of police and to report sightings for fellow driver users. It is meant to save people from untold arrests and speeding tickets because of victim-less crimes.
The NYPD claims Google is assisting users in breaking the law. The letter google received last week specifically focused on impaired driver issues.
According to the statement, it reads:
“The NYPD has become aware that the Waze Mobile application … currently permits the public to report DWI checkpoints throughout New York City and map these locations. Accordingly, we demand that Google LLC, upon receipt of this letter, immediately remove this function from the Waze application.”
“Further, the NYPD requests that Google take every necessary precaution to ensure that GPS data of NYPD DWI checkpoints, or any other substantially similar data, is not uploaded or posted at a future time on the Waze Mobile application, google.com, Google maps, or any other associated internet/websites, or web portals and platforms under Google LLC’s, its partners’ sponsors’ or affiliates’ control.”
The NYPD’s Acting Deputy Commissioner for Legal Matters, Ann Prunty, who wrote the letter, claims that users who are posting police location data could be in violation of the law:
“Individuals who post the locations of DWI checkpoints may be engaging in criminal conduct since such actions could be intentional attempts to prevent and/or impair the administration of the DWI laws and other relevant criminal and traffic laws. The posting of such information for public consumption is irresponsible since it only serves to aid impaired and intoxicated drivers to evade checkpoints and encourage reckless driving. Revealing the location of checkpoints puts those drivers, their passengers, and the general public at risk.”
“The NYPD will pursue all legal remedies to prevent the continued posting of this irresponsible and dangerous information,” Prunty mentioned.
Police have been infuriated by the app for years since it is allowing users to gain the upper hand when it comes to schemes for generating revenue or harassment that police often get engaged in. There have been tensions between police and the public recently and it has been elevated. There has been a force going against the equalizing technology that has never been stronger.
The Waze app was purchased by google for $966 million in 2013 and has remained the same give or take with its functions ever since then. With users seeing demands from police to ban the app or remove its most popular police tracking feature, a lot of Waze users have concerns that Google will give in to the government’s demands seeing as how they have done so in the past.
Google agreed to comment for NBC and stated:
“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.”
Waze Sign Image: CC/Flickr/René C. Nielsen
Kyle James Lee – The AEGIS Alliance – This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.