Waze allows drivers to navigate traffic by allowing app users to input activity such as current traffic, road hazards, accidents and police presence, including speed traps and sobriety checkpoints. It is the police-tracking notification feature that has caused the biggest upset among the law enforcement community as some officers believe this tool enables drivers to avoid cops, drive recklessly and endanger others.
On the contrary, others believe the app actually promotes safer driving by making drivers aware of police presence, traffic patterns and road hazards.
“The Waze debate likely offers no winning avenue for legal action to remove the police tracker. The argument that the app promotes crime diversion is probably a dead end. The First Amendment permits Google to host this feature, and free speech protections allow people to communicate about the police presence in their own communities, even via a crowdsourcing app,” Moser explains.
While the ultimate fate of Waze’s police tracker is unclear, this is just the latest example of how new technologies have opened up safety and free speech issues.
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