Google issues a response to NYPD cease and desist letter

Google / Tech

The Waze app is a community-driven navigation app that allows drivers to update road conditions in real-time.

A cease and desist letter is an official document sent to a person or business to stop supposed illegal activity and not continue it. A cease and desist letter, when it is issued by a public authority, can be a warning of incoming judicial enforcement. Yesterday, we reported that the NYPD has sent such a letter to Google concerning their Waze app.

The Waze app is a community-driven navigation app that allows drivers to update road conditions in real-time. This is very helpful for drivers as the app can suggest alternate routes to save time if one route is congested. The app also allows drivers to report accidents and police activity. One such activity is the use of DWI checkpoints. The NYPD hasn’t taken this ability kindly and issued the cease and desist letter to the search giant.

“This letter serves to put you on notice that the NYPD has become aware that the Waze Mobile application, a community-driven GPS navigation application owned by Google LLC, currently permits the public to report DWI checkpoints throughout New York City and map these locations on the application.

“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. 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.”

NYPD letter to Google

We reached out to Google for a response to the news and they provided us with the below statement.

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.

Google spokesperson

A very straight forward canned statement which doesn’t fully address the NYPD letter. Which is probably standard operating procedure when it comes to press inquiries about these sorts of incidents. Google’s lawyers are most likely working up an official response to the NYPD letter. Once all the legal bits are out of the way, they may be able to expand on their statement above.

Sonos Beam

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