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NYPD in standoff with Google over Waze sobriety checkpoint alerts

The NYPD has hit out at Google over police sobriety checkpoint alerts sent to drivers using the Waze navigation apps.

Police in New York have written to the web and mobile giant, telling the company to halt the crowd-sourced alerts, and has accused the company of putting other drivers, passengers and the public at risk.

The cease and desist letter, published by CBS New York puts Google “on notice” and says Waze users posting the Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) checkpoint locations may be “engaging in criminal conduct.”

Indeed, notifications of an upcoming check point could cause those driving under the influence to reroute in order to avoid being rumbled by police lying in wait.

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The now-deleted letter reads: “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 letter continued. “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.”

Reports about the letter say the NYPD has also demanded the speed check alert feature be removed from the app too, but the letter does not seem to mention that.

Google, who recently added the speed check alerts popular within Waze to the main Google Maps app, says the alerts it provides actually make the roads safer, rather than simply allowing drivers to stay one step ahead of the cops.

“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,” a Google spokesperson said.

Where do you stand when it comes to warnings of sobriety checkpoints? Is Google aiding and abetting drunk drivers with the Waze feature? Let us know @TrustedReviews on Twitter.

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