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NYPD sends Google cease-and-desist letter over Waze's DWI checkpoints

By midian182 · 27 replies
Feb 7, 2019
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  1. According to Streetsblog, the NYPD’s letter was sent over the weekend. It mainly focuses on Waze’s ability to highlight driving while intoxicated (DWI) checkpoints. Waze doesn’t provide the data itself, but allows users to insert checkpoint markers on a map and add information to the icon, such as whether it’s a DWI roadblock.

    The NYPD has warned that “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.”

    While the NYPD says informing drunk drivers about roadblocks is dangerous, Google claims the feature is there to inform users of speed traps. "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 spokesperson said.

    Helen Witty, the national president of Mothers Against Drunk Driving, told the New York Times that while DWI checkpoints were usually publicized in advance, they still served their purpose. She added that drunk drivers were often too intoxicated to realize what’s happening.

    As noted by The Verge, Apple banned some DUI avoidance apps back in 2011 following pressure from senators, and it now only allows applications that show location information “published by law enforcement agencies.” Google still allows them, though, and it looks like that isn’t going to change anytime soon, despite the NYPD’s protests.

    Permalink to story.

  2. Sir Alex Ice

    Sir Alex Ice TS Enthusiast Posts: 50   +20

    If they are sober enough to avoid the DWI points, maybe they are not drunk enough to be pulled over.
    Milest, MaXtor and btfsttg like this.
  3. Squid Surprise

    Squid Surprise TS Evangelist Posts: 2,542   +1,536

    I'm wondering how telling people about speed traps is any different... If a driver knows where the speed traps are, won't they simply slow down for those, then speed up again? In fact, now that they know where the traps are, they can afford to speed any time they know there ISN'T a trap, when before they might have driven the limit not knowing if a cop could be around the next corner ready to ticket them!

    I'd argue that it's actually WORSE to show speed traps then DWI points.... if a driver is still sober enough to use WAZE and be cognizant of avoiding traps, then maybe they're not as dangerous as a driver who can now exceed the speed limit virtually at will.
    lexster likes this.
  4. seefizzle

    seefizzle TS Evangelist Posts: 415   +288

    DUI checkpoints should be illegal in the first place.

    Law enforcement in America just make up the rules they play by with little to no input from the population.
  5. Squid Surprise

    Squid Surprise TS Evangelist Posts: 2,542   +1,536

    Explain why? Driving a car is NOT a right - it's a privilege. If you drive poorly - either by speeding, intoxicated, or whatever, then you not only put your own life in danger, but you endanger those who are sharing the roads with you (and maybe even sidewalks and neighbouring buildings!).

    The police's job is to enforce the laws - and preventing intoxicated driving is quite important.
  6. seefizzle

    seefizzle TS Evangelist Posts: 415   +288

    If someone drives poorly or dangerous, by all means, pull them over, perform a battery of sobriety tests and do whatever is needed in that situation. I have no qualms with this.

    Performing blanket stops and searches of EVERYONE... this kind of dragnet is not acceptable. I believe it violates 4th amendment rights. Police are not allowed to search a person or their property without probable cause.

    Somehow however police have twisted the rules to be able to do whatever they want. I'm not interested in law enforcement having no limits.

    IAMTHESTIG TS Evangelist Posts: 1,720   +805

    I am all for stopping drunk drivers from being on the road but checkpoints like this are indeed illegal in the US. Drivers can refuse but then the cops can just say "we suspect you of crime X" and continue. Most in good conscience won't do that but not all cops are good.

    Cops just need to rely on the old fashion method, which is better anyway and far cheaper and doesn't involve terrorizing your community. It is pretty damn easy to spot a drunk driver so there is no reason patrols shouldn't have a decent chance of spotting them, not to mention the public will call in a lot of drunk drivers.

    Waze should respond to NYPD's letter with a great big "F-U", it is part of freedom of speech.
    lexster, JaredTheDragon and btfsttg like this.
  8. p51d007

    p51d007 TS Evangelist Posts: 1,964   +1,229

    In my state & city, they PUBLISH a few days before, where and when the checkpoints will be, but, they STILL end up nabbing a bunch of drunk drivers. In MY youth, you DID NOT have the options like you do now.
    Now, a lot of places have free taxi rides, uber, lift, friends, bus, walk.
    Shoot, designated driver in the 70's, early 80's was whomever was the least drunk, DROVE. ;)
  9. btfsttg

    btfsttg TS Rookie Posts: 27   +17

    NYPD is losing all that money!
    JaredTheDragon likes this.
  10. OutlawCecil

    OutlawCecil TS Guru Posts: 679   +493

    Freedom of speech...
    Milest likes this.
  11. brucek

    brucek TS Maniac Posts: 166   +207

    "since it only serves to aid impaired and intoxicated drivers"

    I would think it would serve to aid all drivers, the vast majority of whom are neither impaired nor intoxicated. For this vast majority, it would aid them in avoiding a delay in their trip, which is the exact purpose of Waze in the first place.
    Milest and JaredTheDragon like this.
  12. Nocturne

    Nocturne TS Addict Posts: 190   +98

    Driving a car became a right once 90% of employment careers require a valid driver's license and a car aka means to get to work.

    No where does it state any police agency is allowed to break the law in order to enforce it. In reality it breaks the 4th amendment however some states require a warrant to be issued for the speed and or dui trap and some states require a public notification ahead of the scheduled event. Either way it is a clear line, if it's public then the app is fine if not then the app is obviously helping impaired drivers.In alot of states a police vehicle cannot be camping out a bar and pulling people over for DUIs as it's technically entrapment.

    What people believe are laws ussually arnt correct and on top of that police in alot of cases don't know or understand every law either that is why there is a DA office that can choose to press charges or not.
    lexster likes this.
  13. Squid Surprise

    Squid Surprise TS Evangelist Posts: 2,542   +1,536

    No it didn’t.... want proof: Drivers LICENSE! You need to pay the government a fee in order to have the privilege of driving - and it can be revoked if you break certain laws...

    And while laws differ from state to state - I live in Canada myself - if police are posting DUI checkpoints, I’d bet you they are almost certainly legal....
  14. HyperPete

    HyperPete TS Enthusiast Posts: 71   +35

    Instead of WHINING, maybe NYPD should post "DWI Checkpoints" all over the place. Not only will that confuse people as to what is real and what isn't, but perhaps it will encourage Waze users NOT TO DRIVE if they believe they are intoxicated.

    In my opinion, that would be a WIN for everyone. Use technology to one's advantage instead of wasting taxpayer dollars in frivolous lawsuits.
  15. Nocturne

    Nocturne TS Addict Posts: 190   +98

    You also have a right to travel, but before you needed a valid license now you need a passport as long as your taking a plane trip.....so your point is moot.
  16. sac39507

    sac39507 TS Addict Posts: 252   +97

    This is usually how it goes: People say DUI/DWI checkpoints are bad/wrong/blah, blah, blah. Those people have a child killed by a buzzed/drunk driver. They no longer think it's a bad thing.
  17. Nocturne

    Nocturne TS Addict Posts: 190   +98

    It doesn't matter, people also get shot every day with a gun that doesn't mean take all peoples guns away. It's illegal pure and simple hate the person not make up excuses trading freedoms because some sad sack of $hit won't follow the law.
  18. Squid Surprise

    Squid Surprise TS Evangelist Posts: 2,542   +1,536

    How is this comparable? Your Passport isn't for travelling in your own country... it's for the country you are travelling TO!!

    Travelling between borders - in a free country - usually has nothing to do with the country you are in, but the country you are travelling to!

    Example: I am Jewish, and while I am free to travel anywhere I want within Canada, I am not allowed to travel to certain countries in the Middle East. This has nothing to do with Canada though... it's the Middle Eastern countries that are denying me my "rights".

    People need to understand the actual difference between "rights" and "privileges" before they get all high and mighty...
  19. jtveg

    jtveg TS Booster Posts: 57   +18

    Couldn't this be seen as a freedom of speech violation?
    I mean this could apply to a Facebook page setup so that people post locations of police doing DUI stings etc... The free sharing of information (in principle) is a good thing. I'm pretty sure the police can figure a way to exploit such a feature anyway.

    No one wants drunk drivers on the road. Theses apps should also have a method to alert of erratic drivers, speeders etc...
  20. lexster

    lexster TS Maniac Posts: 462   +226

    Anyone can send a C&D to anyone else. It's just a piece of paper. The NYPD has no authority to enforce it. Checkpoints like this can be done, but citizens have the right to refuse to co-operate and law enforce have no choice but to send them on their way.

    Edit; After doing some research, it seems that the NYPD literally can't enforce it's C&D as it is protected free speech for citizens to warn other citizens of traffic obstructions, which includes police actions, regardless of the method used to communicate which includes a private service such as the one addressed in this article.
    Last edited: Feb 12, 2019
    jtveg likes this.

    IAMTHESTIG TS Evangelist Posts: 1,720   +805

    That doesn't mean anything anymore... for instance a lot of states have a concealed weapons license. But wait, you can't license a right to bear arms. Can you? Can you tax a right? Sure!
  22. Squid Surprise

    Squid Surprise TS Evangelist Posts: 2,542   +1,536

    Apples to oranges.... there is no “right to drive” anywhere in the constitution...

    And while you have the “right to bear arms”, you DON’T have the right to bear concealed arms - hence the license :)
  23. Nocturne

    Nocturne TS Addict Posts: 190   +98

    Not anymore, you are required a passport to travel in the us if you are taking a plane. Know the facts before you bother to post back next time.
  24. Squid Surprise

    Squid Surprise TS Evangelist Posts: 2,542   +1,536

    Actually, only some do... https://www.businessinsider.com/tsa-stop-accepting-driver-license-flights-states-2017-10

    And that’s only because of a bill requiring ID to meet specific standards, which some state drivers licenses do not...

    Regardless, it has nothing to do with my original point... that there is a difference between right and privilege...

    Maybe you should check YOUR facts before replying with irrelevant nonsense?
  25. Nocturne

    Nocturne TS Addict Posts: 190   +98

    My point still stands so in those 9states they have a restricted right to travel, even of the point is on a microcosm level it still exists ***** and you self defeated your statement.....seriously

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