Tags: police | google app | location | waze

Police: Google App That Gives Officers' Location a Threat to Cops

By    |   Friday, 24 April 2015 12:55 PM

Police are up in arms over a Google app, Waze, which they believe makes it easy for maniac cop-killers to stalk and assassinate police.

In an opinion piece on CNN, David A. Clarke, sheriff of Milwaukee County, Wisconsin, and Jonathan Thompson, CEO of the National Sheriffs' Association (NSA), wrote, "The app poses an enormous risk to deputies and police officers."

Waze, a popular real-time Google app which combines GPS and user alerts to warn drivers of traffic jams, also warns them of the location of police, a feature which most motorists use to help them avoid speed traps and DUI checkpoints, the pair note.

In December, Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck wrote to Google CEO Larry Page, "Your company's 'Waze' app as currently configured poses a danger to the lives of police officers in the United States.

"I am concerned about the safety of law enforcement officers and the community, and the potential for your Waze product to be misused by those with criminal intent to endanger police officers and the community."

However, Clarke and Thompson said, "The company's executives flat out refused to discuss the subject with representatives of the NSA, an organization representing more than 3,000 sheriff's offices across the United States."

The National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund reports, "Ambushes were the leading circumstance of officer fatalities in firearms-related deaths. Of the 50 firearms-related fatalities in 2014, fifteen officers were shot and killed in ambush attacks, more than any other."

Ismaaiyl Brinsley is known to have used Waze before he gunned down New York Police Department Officers Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu in December, CNN notes.

Police also have other concerns about Waze beyond the murder of officers. Clarke and Thompson note that 10,276 people were killed in 2013 in alcohol-related accidents, and 9,944 were killed in speed-related accidents in 2011, while Waze continues to warn drivers of the location of police.

They ask, "Is the highest, best use of Google's geo-mapping and crowd-sourcing capabilities to help drunk drivers avoid checkpoints and give speeders assistance in evading speed limits?"

In addition, they state, "Perpetrators of domestic violence can use it to find out about the presence of law enforcement in a spouse's neighborhood. Gang members, narcotics dealers, even those intent on perpetrating an act of terror, all have access to Waze's 'traffic cop' feature."

Bedford County, Virginia, Sheriff Mike Brown told Slate, "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."

In Miami, police have become so upset about Waze that they have begun posting bogus police sightings by the hundreds in order to muddle the app, NBC reports.

"It puts us at risk, puts the public at risk, because it’s going to cause more deadly force encounters between law enforcement and suspects," Sgt. Javier Ortiz, president of the Miami Fraternal Order of Police, told NBC.

Watch the video here.

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Police are up in arms over a Google app, Waze, which they believe makes it easy for maniac cop-killers to stalk and assassinate police.
police, google app, location, waze
Friday, 24 April 2015 12:55 PM
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