New York, NY – The New York Police Department (NYPD) demanded that Google remove a feature from a traffic app that tells drivers where police checkpoints and speed cameras are located.
The NYPD sent a cease-and-desist letter last weekend and said the feature on the Waze traffic app could be considered “criminal conduct,” the New York Post reported.
StreetsBlog reported that Google just added the speed camera notification recently and also has had the ability to show locations of police checkpoints.
“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,” said Acting Deputy Commissioner for Legal Matters Ann Prunty in the letter, according to StreetsBlog.
Prunty told Google to immediately remove “this function from the Waze application.”
The letter also stated, “The NYPD will pursue all legal remedies to prevent the continued posting of this irresponsible and dangerous information.”
The police features on the Waze app came to the attention of police in 2015. That’s when Ed Mullins, the president of the Sergeants Benevolent Association sent a letter to Google telling them to deactivate the function on the app that allows people to broadcast where police are located.
In the Feb. 10, 2015 letter, Mullins threatened to ask lawmakers to ban it if Google didn’t cooperate, according to Politico.
Mullins cited the murders of NYPD Officers Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu of the risks that new technologies present to the police. Ismaaiyl Brinsley reportedly used the Waze app to find the police officers he shot in 2015.
Mullins wrote, “The simple convenience to WAZE users in avoiding traffic tickets pales in comparison to the risk of assassination,” according to Politico.