NYPD to Waze: Stop Helping Drunk Drivers
By Rocco Parascandola and John Annese
The NYPD has a message for Google: Stop helping drunks drive with impunity.
The police department is demanding the multinational tech giant stop posting DWI checkpoint locations on Waze, a popular GPS phone app -- and is warning that app users who reveal those locations might face criminal charges.
The department fired off a cease-and-desist letter to Google over the weekend, demanding it "immediately remove this function from the Waze application," and change all of its apps, including Google Maps, to prevent users from posting similar data.
In January, Google Maps added speed limits, and speed trap locations, to its phone app.
"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," warned Ann Prunty, the NYPD's acting deputy commissioner of legal matters.
She added, "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."
It's not the first time the Waze app has drawn the ire of police. In 2015, Sergeants Benevolent Association head Edward Mullins sent a letter to Google CEO Larry Page, demanding the app stop revealing real-time locations of police officers.
In a statement Wednesday, Google gave no indication 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," the statement reads.
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