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Waze meets Rio officials after user killed during navigation

Mapping application Waze has met with state and municipal officials in Rio di Janeiro, Brazil, following the death of a 70 year old woman who was redirected to a notoriously dangerous slum while navigating using Waze.

Published onOctober 8, 2015


Mapping application Waze is currently at the centre of a major controversy in Rio de Janeiro after a 70-year-old woman was redirected into a dangerous slum when following directions provided the GPS navigation application.

Regina Murmura and her husband Francisco were using Waze to get directions to a restaurant in Rio’s sister city Niteroi but the app directed them to the a street with the same name in the notoriously dangerous Caramujo slum. Once they entered the slum, Francisco says that approximately 20 people opened fire after believing him to be a police offer.

“Unfortunately we found ourselves in the Caramujo slum, which I had never heard of before in my life. We found ourselves there, and we didn’t get out of there. When I realized it was a slum, I wanted to stop and turn around, but 10, 15 or 20 guys were already shooting.”

Waze representatives met with state and municipal officials in Rio on Wednesday to discuss the shooting and while it hasn’t been revealed exactly what was said at this meeting, it is believed the meetings were “quite productive”.

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According to Edval Novaes, sub-secretary of command and control with Rio’s state security secretariat, Waze representative Di-Ann Eisner was provided with access to a public database on the state’s crime statistics as well as a map of the city’s slums and Novaes added: “They will see how they use the data to improve the app“.

Waze declined to comment about the meetings but a statement from the company on Wednesday read:

Unfortunately, it’s difficult to prevent drivers from circulating in dangerous regions if those are the destinations selected because people who live in those areas need to get home.

For users on the traffic-riddled streets of Brazil, applications such as Waze that let you redirect around the traffic can be imperative to spend the least amount of time stuck on the road but incidents like the one on Wednesday only serve to highlight the difficulties users can face when things go wrong.

What do you think that Waze could do to try and prevent things like this happening again? Some suggestions include highlighting dangerous slums on the map itself but what do you think? Let us know your views in the comments below guys.

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