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ZacoAttaco

NYPD demands Google to Stop Revealing Location Of DWI Checkpoints through Waze

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Posted (edited) · Original PosterOP

SOURCE: https://newyork.cbslocal.com/2019/02/06/nypd-letter-google-dwi-checkpoints-waze-app/

SOURCE: https://www.theverge.com/2019/2/6/18214585/google-dwi-checkpoints-waze-maps-nypd-letter

 

The New York Police Department has apparently sent a cease and desist letter to Google, demanding it remove alerts about DWI checkpoints on the Waze driving app.

 

For those who aren't aware, Waze was purchased by Google in 2013 and DWI's are drunk-driving checkpoints. Law-enforcement uses these to test drivers blood-alcohol level to determine whether or not they are fit to be driving.

 

Quote from NYPD letter* via CBS New York:

Quote

“This letter serves to put you on notice that the NYPD has become aware that the Waze Mobile application, a community-driven GPS navigation application owned by Google LLC, currently permits the public to report DWI checkpoints throughout New York City and map these locations on the application,

 

"Individuals who post the locations of DWI checkpoints may be engaging in criminal conduct since such actions could be intentional attempts to prevent and/or impair the administration of the DWI laws and other relevant criminal and traffic laws. 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

*Highlighting added

 

Interestingly enough, Google Maps has also recently added similar features. Excerpt from the same CBS New York article:

Quote

The letter comes after Google launched a new feature on its Google Maps app, alerting drivers to the location of police speed cameras.

Drivers say they started getting the new speed camera alert on Google Maps last week.

 

NYPD Letter via The Verge:

Quote

NYPDLETTER.jpg.0aff015d9c7bcedf69e2965dad855364.jpg

 

The Verge also reported on this story. They seem to think Google will be hesitant to remove the feature despite this recent letter.
 

Quote from Google spokesperson via The Verge:

Quote

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.

 

My Thoughts

I see both sides of this topic. I understand that if drivers are intoxicated or otherwise shouldn't be on the roads it's not a great look for Google that they're actively helping them avoid being caught. At the same time, it is convenient for their users and Google to me, seems to have their users best interests at heart here. Waze is built around users submitting updates to traffic and the roads so that everyone can have a better experience.

 

I think in the future we will see similar stories to this come up, as more and more people use these features, law-enforcement is going to have a harder and harder time catching drivers who shouldn't be on the roads. If law-enforcment become too unsuccessful because people are knowingly avoiding these drunk-driving checkpoints something may have to change.

Edited by ZacoAttaco
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Sorry dudes, nothing illegal about it. In fact, it's protected free speech. One could call it a protest, even.

 

NYC's not the first city to try. It's just the biggest.


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The Verge as a website is good and have no issues with them what so ever, so no need to drag the website down. The YT channel is a different story... 


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IIRC aren't DWI checkpoints considered unconstitutional? Something about Search and Seizure, reasonable suspicion?

 

Who am I kidding, the NY state government probably views the Constitution as more of a suggestion at this point.


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14 minutes ago, Trik'Stari said:

IIRC aren't DWI checkpoints considered unconstitutional? Something about Search and Seizure, reasonable suspicion?

 

Who am I kidding, the NY state government probably views the Constitution as more of a suggestion at this point.

How about don’t drink and drive? 

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5 minutes ago, RorzNZ said:

How about don’t drink and drive? 

Checkpoints that operate on guilty until proven innocent aren't going to really be that effective compared to patrols that act on reasonable suspicion (meaning your driving is really unsafe). Once a checkpoint is known, it's easy to avoid.


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22 minutes ago, Trik'Stari said:

IIRC aren't DWI checkpoints considered unconstitutional? Something about Search and Seizure, reasonable suspicion?

 

Who am I kidding, the NY state government probably views the Constitution as more of a suggestion at this point.

DWI shouldnt be allowed near a motor vehicle for YEARS. But because people are too lenient with this stuff, should be a LOT worse

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9 minutes ago, Drak3 said:

Checkpoints that operate on guilty until proven innocent aren't going to really be that effective compared to patrols that act on reasonable suspicion (meaning your driving is really unsafe). Once a checkpoint is known, it's easy to avoid.

Just have both and target checkpoints on main roads, they don’t operate here I’m guilty until proven innocent, it’s just a breath test, but if you drive drunk it’s easy to tell.

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I don't think they should be able to report locations of checkpoints. They're there for a reason, and they're more effective than having nothing at all.

33 minutes ago, Trik'Stari said:

IIRC aren't DWI checkpoints considered unconstitutional? Something about Search and Seizure, reasonable suspicion?

 

Who am I kidding, the NY state government probably views the Constitution as more of a suggestion at this point.

I don't think it'd fall under that, because they're not searching your vehicle. I believe they're allowed to insure that you're authorized to operate the vehicle you're in, check licenses, your operational status, etc.

12 minutes ago, Drak3 said:

Checkpoints that operate on guilty until proven innocent aren't going to really be that effective compared to patrols that act on reasonable suspicion (meaning your driving is really unsafe). Once a checkpoint is known, it's easy to avoid.

They don't though, really. They're simply checking to make sure you're in compliance. There's nothing wrong with that, and a patrol won't catch nearly as many intoxicated people. People that are intoxicated (to a point they're a serious issue) are also less likely to be able to avoid such checkpoints. Driving around trying to catch drunk drivers is like trying to find a needle in a haystack, and honestly, would have similar issues in relation to guilt as a checkpoint would. Who's to say the person swerving slightly is just tired, a bad driver, etc.


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16 minutes ago, dizmo said:

I don't think they should be able to report locations of checkpoints. They're there for a reason, and they're more effective than having nothing at all.

I don't think it'd fall under that, because they're not searching your vehicle. I believe they're allowed to insure that you're authorized to operate the vehicle you're in, check licenses, your operational status, etc.

They don't though, really. They're simply checking to make sure you're in compliance. There's nothing wrong with that, and a patrol won't catch nearly as many intoxicated people. People that are intoxicated (to a point they're a serious issue) are also less likely to be able to avoid such checkpoints. Driving around trying to catch drunk drivers is like trying to find a needle in a haystack, and honestly, would have similar issues in relation to guilt as a checkpoint would. Who's to say the person swerving slightly is just tired, a bad driver, etc.

Ignoring the part where police do on a non-insignficant number of times violate your due cause and search based on racial profiling or other illegitimate reason...

 

Part of the real reason why people want to know where the cops are is to avoid the inevitable massive slow down to traffic that occurs as people gawk or get stressed out around them. Same reasons why people want to know where construction is. So they can plan around it. 


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Posted · Original PosterOP
59 minutes ago, Skiiwee29 said:

The Verge as a website is good and have no issues with them what so ever, so no need to drag the website down. The YT channel is a different story... 

Noted. It wasn't really necessary so I removed that comment. 

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1 hour ago, Trik'Stari said:

IIRC aren't DWI checkpoints considered unconstitutional? Something about Search and Seizure, reasonable suspicion?

 

Who am I kidding, the NY state government probably views the Constitution as more of a suggestion at this point.

All you have to do is put your ID against the window. If you want to be fancy, with a note saying you do not consent to any searches. Anything more than that is considered 'voluntary' unless the officer sees enough evidence to immediately justify themselves in court later.

 

Edit: Coming from my area, that is. Not sure what the laws are in other states. I know some ban checkpoints altogether.


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21 minutes ago, Rune said:

Not sure what the laws are in other states.

Doesn't really matter. Enough cops do whatever they want regardless, and unless you have evidence of them doing it, they're not going to face any consequences.


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When these topics come up I am somewhat dismayed by the number of people who don't understand the importance of getting drink drivers of the road.  Sure it's an inconvenience, but do you really want to balance that inconvenience against being in an accident because of drink driving? And to the point of demanding it be a free speech issue!  Free speech is so you can question the government and vocally protest their actions, it should not give you the right to undermine the polices legitimate attempts at keeping people safe. 

 

Unless off course drink driving is protected in the bill of rights?

 

 


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What I find hilarious is the area I live in, Police that run "sobriety checkpoints" actually warn the public when they run them and where they'll be. They still get drunk morons rolling through 🤣


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3 hours ago, ZacoAttaco said:

to have their users best interests at heart here

That's not Google


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2 hours ago, mr moose said:

When these topics come up I am somewhat dismayed by the number of people who don't understand the importance of getting drink drivers of the road.  Sure it's an inconvenience, but do you really want to balance that inconvenience against being in an accident because of drink driving? And to the point of demanding it be a free speech issue!  Free speech is so you can question the government and vocally protest their actions, it should not give you the right to undermine the polices legitimate attempts at keeping people safe. 

 

Unless off course drink driving is protected in the bill of rights?

 

 

I dont think drunk drivers will be the ones looking at the app to avoid cops. You know because the people drunk to the point where they need off the road generally tend not to be very good at judging those things. Like a previous person mentioned, there are communities that literally warn people about it and you still get the drunkards rolling through. 

 

But I suppose that's the real question. I mean, sure its just a mild inconvenience... for people who dont tend to get targeted by police (I'm a white male myself... heh, but I've traveled enough with brown friends to see the double standards in action all over. If I was brown I'd totally use apps like that solely to avoid police as much as possible regardless.)


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2 hours ago, mr moose said:

When these topics come up I am somewhat dismayed by the number of people who don't understand the importance of getting drink drivers of the road.  Sure it's an inconvenience, but do you really want to balance that inconvenience against being in an accident because of drink driving? And to the point of demanding it be a free speech issue!  Free speech is so you can question the government and vocally protest their actions, it should not give you the right to undermine the polices legitimate attempts at keeping people safe. 

 

Unless off course drink driving is protected in the bill of rights?

I think of it the other way around.

It's actually a pretty big assumption to make that an app where users can tell others where DWI checkpoints are makes the roads more unsafe. It relies on the assumptions that:

  1. Drunk drivers checks the app. Not sure about you, but from what I have seen the people who drink and drives are usually those who do not plan ahead. A quick Google search seems to confirm that, with a large portion of DWI offenders having done so because they were at a party and then started drinking, assuming someone else would drive them home or they forgot that they weren't suppose to drink.
  2.  That the app is always very up-to-date. This information is not up to date constantly, so there is a gap between the station going up. If the police would just move the station ever so often the data in the app would be inaccurate quite often. In fact, if we operate under the assumption that the app makes drunk drivers take other roads, this app could be used as a way for the police to trap drunk drivers. They should see this as an opportunity rather than a hindrance. If they move the station every 2 hours or so, people will A) start distrusting the app, B) Believe that there are checkpoints all over the roads and not drive C) Try and avoid the routes with checkpoints, but instead might land on one where the real one is.
  3.  That DWI checkpoints manages to catch a significant amount of drunk drivers if their location are unknown. I am not sure how it is in the US, but here in Sweden these checkpoints only check maybe 1/10 cars driving by. The chance of them actually catching someone are incredibly low in those circumstances, and because of that I believe the checks are more of a deterrence rather than a way to try and catch people. If people know the stations are out there, the deterrence factor might even be more efficient.
  4.  That the drunk drivers will take another route now that they know there is a check on the one they were going. Alcohol has a pretty big effect on your comprehension skills. People who drive while drunk already has the mentality that they won't get caught.

I would not be surprised if the effects of this app are far smaller than people might assume.

 

But more importantly, should Google be responsible for this? They are essentially being accused of allowing users to tell others where the checkpoints are.

Back when I lived at home, my mom who works night drove on the same road as I did when I went to work every morning. That meant that she sometimes saw speeding and DWI checkpoints on the road where I'd be driving just 30 minutes later. She usually mentioned those to me, just so that I would not get caught in one and get late for work. Does that mean she is "engaging in criminal conduct and is acting irresponsibly since it only serves to aid impaired and intoxicated drivers to evade checkpoints and encourage reckless driving"? Is she putting others at risk when she told me that info?

 

But even more than that, Google aren't the ones telling users where the checkpoints are, so a more accurate analogy would be that the NYPD would go after my telephone service provider if my mother sent me a text message saying "hey, drive a bit earlier this morning, there is a DWI that might slow you down on the way to work".

 

 

I don't want drunk drivers on the roads either. I totally understand where people supporting this are coming from. But, I believe that we should not have a type of "the ends justify the means" mentality when we don't even know if "the means" are efficient. How about doing some independent studies and research before we take action?

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3 hours ago, RorzNZ said:

How about don’t drink and drive? 

While DUI checkpoints aren't technically unconstitutional, your attitude towards the potential violation of rights is pretty idiotic.

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2 hours ago, mr moose said:

When these topics come up I am somewhat dismayed by the number of people who don't understand the importance of getting drink drivers of the road.  Sure it's an inconvenience, but do you really want to balance that inconvenience against being in an accident because of drink driving? And to the point of demanding it be a free speech issue!  Free speech is so you can question the government and vocally protest their actions, it should not give you the right to undermine the polices legitimate attempts at keeping people safe. 

 

Unless off course drink driving is protected in the bill of rights?

 

 

Another example of "the ends justify the means". The rights don't exist to allow someone to drive drunk. There's a very good that police have to have particularized suspicion of a specific crime to be able to detain you. If you don't mind, I'm just going to walk into your house and start rummaging around, because, you know, you could have some crack cocaine in there. I don't know you have it, and I don't even have a reason to suspect that you might, BUT YOU COULD! You don't want people walking around selling crack cocaine, do you?! Think of the children! If you're not doing anything wrong, you shouldn't mind me going through all your stuff.

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31 minutes ago, LAwLz said:

I am not sure how it is in the US, but here in Sweden these checkpoints only check maybe 1/10 cars driving by.

That's odd, here every car is checked. Maybe it's to do with traffic flow or something? Comparatively we don't have that much traffic and they don't put checkpoints in the middle of a motorway/highway, cos you know, that would be idiotic.

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