Senators Ask Google, Apple, RIM to Remove DUI-Checkpoint Avoidance Apps

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News Posted: Wed, Mar 23 2011 9:36 AM
U.S. Senators Harry Reid (D-NV), Charles E. Schumer (D-NY), Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ), and Tom Udall (D-NM) are co-signers on a letter to Apple, Google, and RIM, in which they ask the companies to remove any apps from their respective marketplaces that allow users get around DUI checkpoints.
We know that your companies share our desire to end the scourge of drunk driving and we therefore would ask you to remove these applications from your store unless they are altered to remove the DUI/DWI checkpoint functionality.

One application contains a database of DUI checkpoints updated in real-time. Another application, with more than 10 million users, also allows users to alert each other to DUI checkpoints in real time.
A quick search on the App Store shows several such apps. One is .Tipsy., free, and another is Fuzz Alert Pro, a 99 cent app.

A similar app in the Android Market is PhantomALERT, which is a free app that also covers speed traps as well as DUI checkpoints.

In addition to these types of apps there are crowd-sourced apps like Trapster (which spans platforms) that help avoid speed traps and police checkpoints in general.

The open letter was published on March 22. It was sent to Google CEO Eric Schmidt, Scott Forstall, Apple's Senior Vice President, iPhone Software, and James L. Balsillie and Michael Lazaridis, the co-CEO's of RIM.
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DScheive replied on Wed, Mar 23 2011 11:51 AM

Thumbs up to the developer of these apps... cops have been using entrapment in states its illegal and them getting rid of this app because of there reason is still neglecting those developers freedoms...

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I agree with the cops and senators on this one, probably the first time too. If you aren't doing anything wrong then you have nothing to worry about. Get the drunk drivers off of the roads! I read about this all of the time living in CA, these checkpoints are doing nothing but good. Why should we encourage drunk driving, it's stupid.

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noelbeale replied on Wed, Mar 23 2011 1:34 PM

I find these comments by the Senators to be highly amusing. Why? Because in almost EVERY case of a DUI checkpoint being set up in VA, the VA Police go on the local news stations and announce where it is. The VA Police consider ANNOUNCING the locations as a vital part of the DUI checkpoint process to curb drunk driving. As such, at least in VA, this sort of app has police approval, since it does exactly the same thing the VA Police do each time a check point is setup. Heck, the VA police are even quoted in the PhantomALERT app description.

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I think the app is fine, its like calling a friend and telling them where you saw it.

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Inspector replied on Wed, Mar 23 2011 2:49 PM

who here can say they never used one? :D. The government is getting more and more involved in stuff they shouldn't be. Even with out the apps it can be done, maybe though a browser.

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rapid1 replied on Wed, Mar 23 2011 2:56 PM

Please you are stealing one of the main ways state governments have to make money traffic tickets, come on you are already not paying taxes when people order from you, rofl!

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rapid1 replied on Wed, Mar 23 2011 3:00 PM

Hey Noel that is state governments who use it for something besides making money. I really stand behind VA on that as it is actually using it as a tool to cut down on the act (DUI/DWI). Most states don't do that I am pretty sure they just use traffic tickets for money, you also have to understand the insurance companies pay them as well. When someone gets a DUI/DWI there insurance rates increase dramatically, so the politicians get paid for these laws by lobbyists (which should be completely illegal period).

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While I believe in keeping drunk drivers off of the street going after these avoidance applications are not the answer and it was a waste of time to write the letter seeing how they don't break any of the rules of the Android Market, or Apple app store. Besides that fact that people can do it through social networking just as easily as a cell phone app. Our tax dollars at work.

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Inspector replied on Wed, Mar 23 2011 5:37 PM

lol thats true draco, Plus which drunk driver can use one of these apps? xD

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CDeeter replied on Wed, Mar 23 2011 6:26 PM

And hear I thought the Democrats were supposed to be the liberal ones. lol

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AKwyn replied on Wed, Mar 23 2011 6:41 PM

Honestly, I don't agree or think this will do any good. While the plus side has to do with keeping drunk drivers off the road, the major downside of this is that the police will be able to make more money by stopping drivers who are driving within the reasonable speed limit (that's why they call it a speed trap folks, inaccurate sensors = a sense of speeding.)

Honestly, I'll follow the rules of the road and I'll drive within the reasonable speed limits but with these news reports about how the police are using these speed traps as revenue gainers, it just makes me worry that I'll be stopped by one of those police officers and I'll be given a ticket for supposed speeding.

Sure, this'll get drunk drivers off the road but that's only like one side of the story, and in today's world we have to focus on both sides of the story.

Sorry governors, but I don't agree with your statements one bit. Now if only you found ways to make the road safer without making you guys richer, then I might listen.

 

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realneil replied on Wed, Mar 23 2011 7:35 PM

I've lost friends and relatives to drunk drivers. This was unnecessary, and it cut good, innocent people down in their tracks for no good reason. The thought that someone has the right to impair themselves with booze, and then go drive a 3,500 pound meat hammer around killing people who never even see them coming is not alright. It never was, and never will be.

Anything that helps to bust a drunk driver is a good thing as far as I'm concerned. They get no slack from me, and if I notice someone on the road weaving around, I call 911 and report them. I make sure that they're caught. There's many of us out there looking too,.......

If the Police want to pull me over, that's OK. I'm not driving at dangerous speeds, and I'm never, ever impaired behind the wheel. I'll thank them for pulling me over. I'm glad that they're there. They're our first line of defense.

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Drunk Drivers....talking on the phone drivers....texting Drivers....its unlikely we'll ever put a stop to the madness. So long as people keep thinking they're immune to accidents and firmly believe "it cant happen to me"  these avoidable accidents will never stop. 

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RMedley replied on Thu, Mar 24 2011 12:02 AM

My father and stepmother died to drunk driving. I do not drive while drinking whats the point anyway. If I am going to be drinking I don't wanna be driving so I make sure I am not. I don't really drink any more though more than a beer or a glass of wine so I guess it kind of disqualifies me. When I did used to drink though my attitude was the same, if I did have to move cab ride it was period. Of course that has been quite a while ago as well which probably double disqualifies me.

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