NYPD Orders Google to Stop Waring Users
Article from Reason by Joe Setyon.
The New York City Police Department (NYPD) wants Google to trash a feature on one of its apps that lets users report drunk-driving checkpoints. Not so fast, responds Google.
The application in question is Waze, a community-based navigation app that allows users to report car accidents, traffic jams, and police activity. While there isn’t a specific feature that lets people report checkpoints meant to catch intoxicated offenders, users can leave comments specifying the type of police activity, according to The New York Times.
“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,” reads a February 2, 2019 cease-and-desist letter to Google from Ann Prunty, the NYPD’s acting deputy commissioner in charge of legal matters. “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,” Prunty adds in the letter, which was first reported by StreetsBlog NYC.
I shouldn’t have to point this out, but posting that information does not “only” aid intoxicated drivers. It’s a help to any sober driver who wants to avoid the delays and hassle that these Fourth Amendment–shredding checkpoints impose. Indeed, there’s a good chance that most of the people using the information are sober. “If you are impaired, you are not going to pay attention to that information,” Helen Witty, national president of Mothers Against Drunk Driving, tells the Times.
Read the entire article at Reason.
Image Credit: By Joi Ito (Flickr: NYPD Drills) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons