The Google Cop Conundrum

waze.si

Disingenuous isn’t a word I get to use that often…given how hard it is to spell that’s probably a good thing. However the recent actions of several senior police people have me reaching for the spell checker. In case you missed it here’s the deal. The fabulous traffic app Waze (which Google acquired in 2013) allows users to mark locations where cops are lying in wait to nab speeding motorists. It’s a terrific feature and one that pretty much everyone I know uses especially on long freeway journeys.  It’s especially fun if you have a passenger and a radar detector to be the first to  tag and flag the cop for others. 
 
In an exercise of staggeringly disingenuous behavior LA Police Chief Charlie Beck (and apparently several other top cops) has written to Google asking them to remove the feature as it might allow criminals to target police more easily….really? is that the argument?  When was the last time you heard of criminals targeting speed traps…off the top of my head it’s never. Waze isn’t used to tag cops going about their business of “protecting and serving” it’s used to tag and flag cops often hiding behind freeway overpass bridges looking to hit their speeding ticket quota and impose massive fines on already over taxed motorists. 
 
Google doesn’t usually cave to this kind of pressure so I’m optimistic this will go away quickly…and even if they did take it away we could still report cops as a “hazard” and flag it police but that will take more than one touch and is actually likely to cause more problems in terms of distracted driving than the original feature. If the police didn’t act as a taxation arm for our local government and stuck to fighting actual crime rather than ticketing moms in minivans doing 7 MPH over the posted limit we wouldn’t have to resort to our technology to counter act theirs. I really hope Google sticks to their guns on this issue….but I’m not holding my breath.

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