Google and Apple Questioned due to DUI Checkpoint Apps

Party animals were probably rejoicing when they found out that apps have been released that can warn them if there are any DUI checkpoints in their area. Well it’s time for them to sulk once again because the Senate will not tolerate this type of behavior. Both Google and Apple were bombarded by questions from the Congress this week concerning these DUI checkpoint apps that were being sold in the App Store and Android Market.

In the inaugral hearing of the Privacy and Technology Subcommittee of the Senate Judiciary this week, Senator Charles Schumer grilled the two companies regarding this issue. “Apple and Google shouldn’t be in the business of selling apps that help drunk drivers evade the police, and they shouldn’t be selling apps that they themselves admit are ‘terrible,'” he said. In fact, he and along with 3 other senators wrote a letter to Google, Apple and RIM to pull out any DUI checkpoint app that they are selling in their stores. Only RIM complied with their request.

Google’s response during this week’s hearing can be summed up in this sentence: although they do adhere to a set of content policies to remove apps that are unlawful or that spread malware, these DUI checkpoint apps shouldn’t be any cause for alarm. Apple on the other hand said that they will be investigating the legality of these particular apps. Guy Tribble, the VP of software technology at Apple stated, “We have a policy that we don’t allow apps that encourage illegal activity. If the app’s intent is to encourage people to break the law, then we will pull it.”

I agree with Schumer when he pointed out that both companies’ responses to the situation were a “weak read” of the situation. OBVIOUSLY the app encourages its users to do illegal stuff. It’s like this mentality that given the hypothetical chance that you won’t get caught in an illegal act, you’ll do it. Hopefully in the near future Google and Apple will give more socially responsible responses.

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