Some cops are pissed at the Waze traffic app because of a feature that allows users to pinpoint where they have seen officers on a map. The crowdsourced information can be used to avoid getting in trouble with the law. Now police in Miami are subverting the app by filling it with loads of bogus police sightings.
NBC in Miami reports that hundreds of local cops are reporting bogus police sightings and speedtraps to undermine the app. It’s not hard to imagine that police departments across the country are probably doing this too; Waze is just as easy for coppers to use as everyday drivers. You sneaky police.
The beef between Waze and police runs deeper than avoiding traffic tickets, however. Recently, some US sheriffs asked the app’s owner, Google, to disable the police tracking feature because it could theoretically be used to “stalk” the police. This is pretty ridiculous because if some unhinged person wants to stalk and kill cops they won’t have any trouble doing it without the help of a traffic app. Waze developers respond that knowing the police are around probably just makes people drive more carefully.
The reality is that the app is probably hurting the police’s ability to hand out speeding tickets — and collect the subsequent revenue — by allowing users to say where they have seen police posted up. If cops don’t hit their numbers, they have to answer to angry supervisors. In that way, the police’s bogus use of the app is understandable. Who wants to get yelled at by their boss? [NBC 6 Miami via Autoblog via TechDirt]