Authorities claim popular app Waze poses a threat to law enforcement and encourages would-be cop-killers by warning drivers when officers are nearby
A lot of people ask me about Waze and in fact it features in no less than 6 of my blogs http://bit.ly/1EneCPy this year and it is still January.
I’ll tell you why it is very unlikely that this will change given that it is one of the main reasons and most common interaction with Waze in this part of the world. People use it to tell each other where the radar cop is. If Waze was to disable this feature in New Zealand, they may as well turn the light off on the way out.
Of course in New Zealand, you can’t just wander around in your shorts, with your pistol on your holster as you go into a cafe for your Flat White coffee (invented in New Zealand Starbucks!). You are welcome to own firearms, with a license, but you can’t have them out in public unless you are out hunting game in an approved location. Whilst being a Police officer is a dangerous job in other pars of the world, we make it safer for them IMHO.
Anyway, that’s the fatal flaw in this part of the world. The thing is though, whilst Waze is big and this validates my comments in previous blogs that sharing where the cop is that is going to nab you for illegally speeding (breaking the law in effect) is the main reason a lot of people use it, if they removed that capability down here, they might as well turn the lights off as they lave the country. Again in my opinion, if you are speeding on the road, you are putting my family, friends and colleagues at risk. The flip side is of course that if you think there are cops on the side of the road, you might slow down and make the roads safer for all of us.
But what I wanted to say was that virtually all mobile apps today use location based technology and if Google were to remove this feature from Waze, some other developer, anyone from Twitter to any one of the many car navigation apps will pick it up. It’s not illegal to say where a cop is parked, better the devil you know IMHO. Police should all have location based phones and can see where the people are saying they are on their own Waze installed apps.
I understand the safety concerns, unfortunately this isn’t a solution IMHO. There are many other solutions available, many of which criminals will insist are an invasion of their constitutional rights. On the other hand many criminals telegraph their locations on social media and it wouldn’t take much for Police to fight back by having their own applications telling them where the criminals are on the side of the road. Now there’s an interesting thought. Is what’s fair for the goose, far for the gander?