Some police are taking on a this pisses me off, so I’m going to try to destroy it strategy when it comes to crowdsourcing traffic app Waze.
According to a report from Autoblog, who cites reporting from a local NBC affiliate, hundreds of police officers in Miami are flooding Waze with inaccurate information in the hopes that it’ll render it useless.
Police around the country are not happy with the Google-owned Waze. The app, which allows users to crowdsource traffic data, has a feature that lets them pinpoint, on a map, the location of cops. Organizations like the National Sheriffs Association and the Fraternal Order of Police have claimed that this could lead to police “stalking”, putting officer in mortal danger. The NSA called called for Google to remove the feature altogether.
Of course, it’s not really about officer safety. In fact, the NSA has admitted that it’s actually, kind of about speeding tickets.
Here’s what they said:
“While officer safety is paramount and our major concern, we are also concerned this app will have a negative effect on saving lives and with public safety activities,” said John Thompson, NSA Deputy Executive Director. The ability for individual or organized crime to track law enforcement puts every community they protect at risk! If the bad guy knows where law enforcement is all the time, it makes it much easier for them to carry out their illegal activities.
Highway deaths claim more than 30,000 lives each year. The use of radar and other speed reducing activities have helped make a substantial reduction in these numbers. This app will hamper those activities by locating law enforcement officers and puts the public at risk.
No mention of the revenues generated by speeding tickets, of course.
Waze’s rather logical response to this is that the app actually aids in getting people to drive with more caution. If its users know a cop is just around the bend, they’re more likely to slow down.
And you’d think that Miami police’s plan to flood the app with false reports of police locations would have the same, if not magnified effect. If you think there’s a cop around every corner, you’ll probably drive a bit slower.
But this overlooks an even bigger issue – how the crowdsourced app works. Users can report false information and the app weeds it out. Plus, new users aren’t given as much credence.
Also, letting other drivers know about speed traps is completely legal.