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NYPD to Google: Stop revealing the location of police checkpoints

09 February 2019

The company installed Waze Beacons in New York City tunnels, which allow drivers to continue receiving directions, even if they lose Global Positioning System signal. The uploads don't specify that the police presence is a DUI checkpoint, but users can go to the Waze live map to see comments that may indicate that where a checkpoint is.

She added that people sharing the locations of sobriety checkpoints on Waze might be breaking the law by trying "to prevent and/or impair the administration" of the state's DWI laws and that the department planned to "pursue all legal remedies" to stop people from sharing "this irresponsible and risky information". "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", a spokesperson said.

Previously, similar actions have been taken by police forces looking to curb Waze users' ability to call out police speed traps, but Google's app has withstood any apparent legal challenges.

Although this crowdsourced data can help people avoid frustrating traffic delays, the NYPD also says it's undermining their ability to catch drunk, drugged and unsafe drivers.

Water is wet, the sky is blue, and police don't like people reporting speed traps and other law enforcement checkpoints.

But she said that sobriety checkpoints were frequently publicized in advance and that even when drivers were warned about them, they served their objective.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, sobriety checkpoints reduce the risk of crashes caused by drunk driving by about 20-percent. While pressure from the Senate prompted Apple to remove some drunk-driving checkpoint apps in 2011, Google refused to fold.

Some New Yorkers, however, disagreed. It's unknown whether it plans to bring over the DWI checkpoint feature from Waze.

The icon only notes that users have reported a general police presence in the area. In 2015, Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck criticized the application and claimed that its existence could jeopardize the safety of police officers as it is "not always in the public's interest to know where police are operating".

"Using crowdsourcing doesn't stop you from breaking the law", he said.

I shouldn't have to point this out, but posting that information does not "only" aid intoxicated drivers.

NYPD to Google: Stop revealing the location of police checkpoints