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New York - NYPD Takes On Waze, Calls For Repeal Of Features Allowing Drivers To Evade The Law

Published on: February 6, 2019 05:30 PM
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This image taken from the the Waze app on an iPhone, in Washington, shows police at the scene on a map on the app. (AP Photo/Ted Bridis)This image taken from the the Waze app on an iPhone, in Washington, shows police at the scene on a map on the app. (AP Photo/Ted Bridis)

New York - Citing criminal conduct concerns, the NYPD is insisting that a new Waze feature that alerts drivers of police checkpoints be removed immediately, warning that failure to do so could result in legal action.

Streets Blog NYC (http://bit.ly/2WNVKpN) reported that Waze recently rolled out speed trap warnings, giving drivers the ability to report police roadblocks to the app which shares that information with its more than 100 million users.

Google, which bought Waze in 2013, began implementing some of the app’s features into its programming in response to user demand, also giving its drivers warning of police presence on their routes.

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A letter sent to Google this weekend by Ann Prunty, the NYPD’s acting deputy commissioner for legal matters, demanded the immediate removal of police related features, warning that failure to comply could result in possible legal action. 

According to Prunty, revealing police officers’ locations could be considered a criminal offense as it is an intentional attempt to hamper DWI laws, among others.

“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,” wrote Prunty.  “Revealing the location of checkpoints puts those drivers, their passengers and the general public at risk.”

While Waze users may be enjoying the ability to evade red light cameras, not everyone is in favor of the idea.

“If Google wants to avoid getting blood on their hands they should become strong partners in the fight for more life-saving traffic safety cameras in New York,” said Amy Cohen of Families for Safe Streets.

Prunty’s letter is not the first attempt by the NYPD to have some of Waze’s functionality disabled.  In 2015, the NYPD’s sergeants’ union joined a national sheriff’s group in demanding that Waze remove police warnings after police officers Wenjian Liu and Rafael Ramos were killed in Bedford-Stuyvestant as they sat in their squad car. 

Ismaaiyl Brinsley, who was found guilty of murdering the two officers, had reportedly used Waze to track police, although the app was not ultimately linked to the crime, as reported by CBS News (https://cbsn.ws/2WGFebn).

Waze survived that initial attempt to dumb down its features, although members of the Miami Police Department found a novel way to limit the app’s functionality by flooding Waze with bogus reports of police sightings as reported by NBC News (http://bit.ly/2WMLjTC).

To date only France prohibits apps, social media networks, websites and GPS devices from revealing the location of police officers, the result of a law passed in 2017 to curb terrorism.

Google did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the matter.



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Read Comments (11)  —  Post Yours »

1

 Feb 06, 2019 at 06:33 PM Averagejoe Says:

This is just the city of ny upset about their revenue collections and the losses they suffer because of reported police traps. Such a chutzpah of these money hungry democraps.

1

 Feb 06, 2019 at 06:34 PM Anonymous Says:

They already tried this after 2 cops were shot in NYC. However because one cannot go on Waze and do a search for the closest cop in the area the case was dismissed in Waze favor. This should be no different.

1

 Feb 06, 2019 at 06:39 PM Anonymous Says:

This is absolute baloney! When someone is DWI they will sooner or later get caught. There’s no way to drive sober when you see the cops if your intoxicated.

Police don’t like this feature for many reasons but don’t have a case to get it removed.

2

 Feb 06, 2019 at 08:01 PM Anonymous Says:

It has been argued that getting alerts about police makes for a more alert and cautious driver and increases road safety.

3

 Feb 06, 2019 at 08:15 PM triumphinwhitehouse Says:

It's all about money to help de blasio illegals

4

 Feb 06, 2019 at 09:56 PM thegreatfixer Says:

would you allow waze to show fast or slow drivers or those that are unsteady

5

 Feb 07, 2019 at 07:18 AM Shlomo-1 Says:

Reply to #1  
Averagejoe Says:

This is just the city of ny upset about their revenue collections and the losses they suffer because of reported police traps. Such a chutzpah of these money hungry democraps.

Oh, please. You think that republicans don't support police traps?

6

 Feb 07, 2019 at 08:47 AM Ptcha Says:

Such a bunch of B.S. This has NOTHING to do with law enforcement but rather income generation. If I slow down when I see “cop ahead” the police have supposedly had the effect for which they’re positioned there, ie to slow down traffic, duh! Except that they know, I know and we all know, this is purely about issuing tickets. The easiest work for NY’s “finest”. They’re just wringing their hands because their fun is being hampered.

7

 Feb 07, 2019 at 09:32 AM CrookInWhiteHouse Says:

The cops don't believe in the first amendment. They sent a letter to Google written in copspeak, so it sounds more authoritative, but it is only phoney-baloney.

8

 Feb 07, 2019 at 09:40 AM I disagree with all posts Says:

In my opinion warning people that Police are in the area should not be allowed. Unlike parking tickets I really believe this is a safety issue and not a money grab.
There are ways to force Google and waze to comply, just look at France.

9

 Feb 08, 2019 at 07:49 AM Ptcha Says:

Such a bunch of B.S. This has NOTHING to do with law enforcement but rather income generation. If I slow down when I see “cop ahead” the police have supposedly had the effect for which they’re positioned there, ie to slow down traffic, duh! Except that they know, I know and we all know, this is purely about issuing tickets. The easiest work for NY’s “finest”. They’re just wringing their hands because their fun is being hampered.

10

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