NEW YORK (WCBS 880) — The NYPD has sent a cease and desist to Google demanding that the tech giant remove a notification from its Waze app that alerts drivers about nearby cop cars.
The google owned map app Waze has alerts built in with the capability of notifying drivers to different obstacles on their trip — such as road closures or accidents up ahead.
The notifications are all generated by other users that spotted them first and marked the location along the route.
One of the most popular features of the app is the ability for drivers to mark where a cop car is parked, waiting to catch speeding vehicles or drunk drivers.
However, the NYPD’s cease and desist to Google says anyone who posts about the locations of DWI checkpoints may be engaging in criminal conduct.
Michael Krauss, a professor at the Antonin Scalia Law School at George Mason University, disagrees. In fact, he says he knows of no law that prevents citizens of telling other citizens were police officers are.
“It’s a different story if I, in an individual case, I phone the brothel and I say ‘get out quick, the police are on their way’ — that’s obstruction of justice,” Krauss said. “Now, I know people are committing a crime and I’m telling a criminal how to avoid that the police are on their way, but that’s got nothing to do with what’s going on with Waze.”
The NYPD says it will continue to pursue all legal remedies to prevent the continued post of the DWI checkpoints, calling it irresponsible and dangerous information.
In a statement, Google responded to the letter saying: "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."