The popular GPS navigation/social networking app Waze appears to rubbing law enforcement the wrong way. Google owned Waze is full of useful features, namely real time crowd sourced traffic reports which include warnings about nearby congestion, speed traps, car accidents, and more; but law enforcement agencies in the U.S. are asking that the Waze police tracking feature be removed from the app.
Waze allows users to report the location of police officers, and set the status to “Hidden” or “Visible”, with the ability to add additional details – including taking a picture. Law enforcement claim that this information can be used to track and/or stalk police officers. According to the Associated Press, Google’s chief executive recieved a letter from Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck complaining that the app could be “misused by those with criminal intent to endanger police officers and the community.”
“I am confident your company did not intend the Waze app to be a means to allow those who wish to commit crimes to use the unwitting Waze community as their lookouts for the location of police officers,” Beck wrote.
The complaints aren’t just limited to the LA area as Sheriff Mike Brown vocalized his concerns on January 23rd in Virginia at a National Sheriffs’ Association meeting.
“The police community needs to coordinate an effort to have the owner, Google, act like the responsible corporate citizen they have always been and remove this feature from the application even before any litigation or statutory action.”
Julie Mossler, a Waze spokeswoman, stated that “the company thinks deeply about safety and security”, and “works with the New York Police Department and others around the world by sharing information.” It is unclear if Waze plans to remove this feature from the app in a future update.
What do you think about the law enforcement request to remove the police officer reporting feature in Waze? Let us know in the comments below, or on Google+, Twitter or Facebook.Source: Associated Press
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