Why the Popular Waze Traffic App Has Police Worried


The National Sheriffs’ Association is up in arms and Google is to blame! Waze, a popular traffic and navigation app is on law enforcement’s “most wanted list.” Read on to learn more about why these officers say that this technology is putting their lives at risk.

What is Waze?

Waze is a user sourced, navigation and traffic app. It allows users to tag the locations of accidents, congestion, potholes and more, so that other users are warned when they approach the same location.

The app was developed by a team in Israel, but was purchased by Google in 2013 for $1.03 billion. This makes Waze the fourth most expensive acquisition in Google’s 15 years. The Waze development team said that nothing would change at the company and their service and processes would remain the same.

How Does It Affect Police?

In addition to the ability to mark the location of things like accidents, the app also allows users to tag parked police cars and traffic cameras. These features caught the attention of the Sheriff’s Association. They criticized the software as detrimental to the use of speed traps. After all, when people know when police officers are nearby, they are less likely to behave in a way that’s going to get them in trouble. Other major police trade groups have not yet joined the campaign formed by the National Sheriff’s Association.

Why Should It Be Banned?

According to the Sheriff’s Association, not only will Waze interfere with police operations, it could also have an impact on their safety. The association stated that radar guns and other techniques have reduced highway deaths, and broadcasting the location of officers to the public would hamper these activities, leading to more traffic violations.

The group says that this will put the public at risk. Even though there are no known connections between any attacks on law enforcement and the Waze software, sheriffs across the country believe that it’s only a matter of time. Supporters of Waze, however, say that it actually helps to keep roads much safer.

At the time of this publication, there seems to be no official opinion from Google. And who’s to say there ever will be. However, head of the Center for Democracy and Technology. Nuala O’Connor, states “Waze represents person-to-person info in the public arena… and that’s long been a right under the United States Constitution.” Only time will tell what the outcome will be.

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