NYPD calls on Google and Waze to stop sharing DUI checkpoints

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The New York Police Department asked Google’s crowd-sourced Waze navigation app to remove the ability to pinpoint where police and checkpoints for drunk driving are located.

The department sent a letter to Google that said Waze’s ability to show DUI checkpoints impairs the the police department’s ability to keep other drivers safe. Streetsblog first published the letter, while the New York Times reached out to Google for a statement. The tech giant said safety is a “top priority” with Waze and the ability to warn drivers about hazards helps them make better decisions.

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The NYPD’s letter said those who share where DUI checkpoints are might be breaking the law and it prevents police from carrying out the state’s DUI laws. The letter added the department planned to “pursue all legal remedies.” Waze does not explicitly let drivers mark where DUI checkpoints are, but drivers can drop a “pin” on the navigation map to show other users where police are stationed in the world.

It’s also worth noting many departments already share where they plan to set up DUI checkpoints on a particular day. Mothers Against Drunk Driving reiterated such information and said the worst drunk driving offenders don’t pay attention to warnings, let alone the Waze app.

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The Supreme Court has ruled DUI checkpoints constitutional, despite their clash with the fourth amendment that surrounds unwarranted searches and detainment. However, some state constitutions make them unconstitutional and police departments do not carry out checkpoints in states such as Iowa, Wisconsin, Oregon, Washington, and Michigan.

This is not the first time police departments have called for the feature’s removal. In cases dating back to 2014, departments called to end the ability to share police locations and stressed it put officers’ lives in danger. Other arguments have surrounded criminals’ ability to route around police officers when shown on the Waze map.

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