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Law enforcement wants to shut down Google's Waze for 'stalking' police

Certain law enforcement officers want Google to take out police tracking features from Waze, which if in the wrong hands, could be used to 'stalk' police officers.

Published onJanuary 26, 2015


Waze, the popular map application now owned by Google, has offered a few really convenient features to make driving easier. Waze allows users to easily avoid traffic congestion, car accidents, road closings and even police traps. While convenient for the general public, certain law enforcement officers in the US claim that it’s a ‘stalking app’, and can be used to track down police officers for the wrong reasons.

Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck voiced his concerns in a letter sent to Google’s chief executive on December 30th, explaining that Waze has the potential to be “misused by those with criminal intent to endanger police officers and the community.” The only known connection between police attacks and Waze is one case regarding a certain Ismaaiyl Brinsley and his Instagram account. Brinsley killed two NYC police officers on December 20th, 2014. Brinsley apparently shared to his Instagram account a screenshot of Waze tracking police officers, threatening to kill them. Investigators involved in the murders do not believe Brinsley used Waze to track the officers, largely due to Brinsley throwing out his smartphone more than two miles away from the crime scene.

Additionally, a few more officers are becoming more outspoken regarding their views on the app. Sheriff Mike Brown of Bedford County, Virginia voiced his opinion at the National Sheriffs’ Association meeting on January 23rd:

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.

Whether or not the law enforcement officers have a legitimate case against Google, they still bring up a valid point that should be taken into consideration. How do you feel about the officers’ qualms with the app? Should Google take out this feature before something drastic happens? Let us know what you think in the comments.

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