back to article BlackBerry bans drink-drive apps

Responding to complaints from four US senators, RIM has expelled two applications that warn users when they're approaching a police checkpoint, though Apple has yet to do the same. The applications don't just show checkpoints looking for drunk drivers – they also list speed traps, enforcement cameras and other road hazards – but …

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Pint

*Hic*

Now... Whish of theshe two routesh to follow home? Hmm?...

Oopsh.., dropped me keys...

No, but seriously though. Drink-driving is a bloody stupid thing to do. Me, I'd have the software route the arseholes TOWARDS the checkpoints...

By the way, you appear to be using "app store" as a generic term in the article. I understand a certain turtle-necked gentleman would disapprove most strongly were he to find out...

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Jobs Horns

Re: *Hic*

Less turtle-necked and more brass-necked in that context......

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How?

How would the software know you were unfit to drive?

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Go

It knows because you told it....

> How would the software know you were unfit to drive?

The fact you are trying to avoid police checks is probably a hint...

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Stop

app store is generic

App store is a generic term for a place where you buy small apps.

Even the jerk who tried to trademark it knows that.

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not hard to subvert

Just flood them with false reports of checkpoints and the apps will become useless.

Or add false reports of checkpoints in strategic locations and you'll reduce drink driving on those routes without even having to bother paying for the checkpoints to actually exist.

Or add false reports of checkpoints on some routes and put real checkpoints on the obvious alternate routes, so you can catch loads of drunk drivers that think they're going the 'clever' way.

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They are social apps

So users can rate other reporters as inaccurate, so now you've got a full-time job creating new accounts that don't have bad rep etc etc...

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Boffin

Well, sorta...

Fundamentally they're social apps for sharing information about traffic congestion with other users. You can spot the checkpoints on Google Maps too, but Trapster and PhantomALERT provide a more convenient and reliable interface for organising and displaying that information.

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Anonymous Coward

Aiding and abetting

Wouldn't the producers of these apps be aiding and abetting a criminal act?

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Grenade

In the UK - yes

Here is a recent precedent:

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1343959/Driver-flashed-headlights-warn-motorists-speed-trap-fined.html

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Silver badge

Here in Australia

it's called "Impeding police in the lawful execution of duty" or something along those lines, rather than aiding and abetting. The end result is the same - flash your headlights to warn other motorists of police presence and you risk getting a whopping fine. And thanks to police politicking, the oft-used defence of "I was just testing to make sure my lights worked" doesn't hold any water any more with the local judges, even if it's true.

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Aiding and abetting

Indeed but wouldnt be Garmin, Tomtom and other producers of similar applications? Road Angel and the speed radar detectors fall under something similar?

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@Tom_`

Or add false reports of checkpoints on some routes and put real checkpoints on the obvious alternate routes, so you can catch loads of drunk drivers that think they're going the 'clever' way.

Problem with that is some states require that check points be published. Other wise it could be said that the cops are stopping you with out cause . Saying but we are checking ever one does not count.

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"Drink-driving app"?

What a load of BS. The whole "drink driving" angle appears to be a publicity stunt thought up by annoyed LEOs and a few senators with too much free time on their hands. Folks who have done any recent driving in California (where, I kid you not, 2010 was officially designated as the "Year of the Checkpoint") are fully aware that the primary use of these apps is simply avoiding the annoying 30-minute queues at CHP checkpoints -- NOT enabling drink driving.

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Stop

Better ideas

Dont speed

Don't drink drive

Obey the law damnit.

I think you all owe me now 99p for this

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this is NOT a title!

See the post by Quxy just above yours for a reply to your overly simplistic view of things.

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Grenade

@Chad H

So if and when a law gets passed requiring you to hand over your home and all your possessions to police on request for any reason they like, without justification and without a warrant, you'd be fine with that, would you? Merely because "you have to obey the law"?

Please, do the human race a favour and at least try to grow a couple of brain cells of your own. You can do wonderful things with them you know.

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FAIL

@ Drop Table

Perhaps you should be doing the one doing a race a favour?

How the heck can you put Drink Driving and speeding in the same category as unlawful searches?

When you applied for your license, you agreed to a few things, like not speeding, not drink driving, and not putting my life at risk because you don't feel like the laws apply to you.

If you don't like those rules, you've got a valid alternative - stay off the damn road.

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Pint

Why don't the police buy the app?

Then they can move the checkpoint whenever it is reported

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Who puts the data up?

Most people don't drink and drive these days, and wouldn't have the slightest motivation to help random strangers get away with it. Quite the opposite.

Even people who do drink and drive will most likely have convinced themselves that *they* can handle it. That doesn't mean they would be happy to encounter another drink driver who might not share their superhuman driving abilities.

Plus anyone actually caught out by a checkpoint would surely not have the opportunity to log it with the app. They would presumably be arrested and have their phone taken?

So who exactly is supposed to be updating the app? Sounds like BS to me.

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@Bunker_Monkey

It can be argued that speed trap warnings on your satnav or whatever assist you in not exceeding the speed limit in the dangerous locations where the cameras are located, thus preventing you from committing the offence in the first place. On the other hand, if you are drink driving, then you have already committed the offence, and the app is helping you to avoid being caught.

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WTF?

Though I abhore drink drivers

Why the hell are companies becoming policemen? Surely its up to the users if they buy the app or not. Sick and tired of nanny state companies.

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Anonymous Coward

Cannot disagree more

I personally obey the law. I don't drink and drive and where I live these checkpoints are not posted anywhere. Frankly they are often located in my area in very dangerous locations (right around a bend, near a busy intersection etc etc.) I understand that this app can be used by someone who is drunk and doesn't want to be caught but lets be honest no one likes going through these things. They slow me down form getting from point A to point B.

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Boffin

Drink-driving is only the justification

States that make heavy use of these checkpoints justify them on the (publicly palatable) basis of drink-driving enforcement. But law enforcement organisations like them because it gives them an opportunity to examine vehicles and their drivers and passengers for many, many other potential offences unrelated to drink-driving or public safety. In some states, for instance, these checkpoints are used more for immigration enforcement than for sobriety checks. At a checkpoint in one western state, for instance, I was ordered out of the car and cross-examined for 15 minutes for no other excuse than having a British accent. No, given the particular senators involved, I don't think that their opposition to these apps honestly has much to do with drink-driving...

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Flame

Drunk driving is very stupid...

I'm not a fan of these checkpoints, and I do my best to avoid them if I somehow come to know that one is around.

Why? I was driving along fairly late at night when I saw this distant scene of flashing lights and what looked like the elevated bed of a flatbed towing truck in the distance. To me, it looked like an accident and nothing that I wanted anything to do with, much less interfere. So I turned around rather hastily in a parking lot (without signaling my intention) and was almost through it when this police car (no lights of any sort on, not even its headlights) snuck up behind my vehicle. Turns out the police really weren't very happy that I'd turned around, and they also weren't happy that I hadn't signaled. (Do you believe that was the only reason? I don't. I'm sure they thought I was possibly drunk and looking to dodge the checkpoint.)

That's how I got the only warning on my driving record...and to be quite frank, it made me mad. I really call into question how putting a road block right near a busy intersection in the dead of night is any less potentially dangerous than a drunk driver.

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Pint

Don't....

Don't drink and drive...

You spill it.

(let the down votes begin)

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FAIL

WTF?

Maybe they should revisit the legality of checkpoints. It sure brings into question the presumption of innocence to say the least.

If you need a checkpoint to catch someone who has been drinking and driving, then there's a damn good chance the person was not posing a hazard to society, especially considering the ridiculously low blood alcohol limits needed to be considered "impaired" in many states.

Not that I'd own a POS rim anyway, but I will surely refrain from patronizing their products due to this spinelessness.

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Boffin

Way ahead of you...

This sort of suspicionless checkpoint is illegal in 10 states, is banned for policy reasons ("the risks outweigh the benefits") in two others, and is under legal challenge in many of the remaining 38.

Although the US Supreme Court carved out a narrow 4th Amendment exception for drink-driving checkpoints, in their decision they also noted that "the findings of the trial court, based on an extensive record and affirmed by the Michigan Court of Appeals, indicate that the net effect of sobriety checkpoints on traffic safety is infinitesimal and possibly negative."

The media attention generated by the senators is simply a volley in the ongoing legal battle to expand the power of police to conduct warrantless searches. This really has a lot more in common with the warrantless wiretapping controversy than with public safety.

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Unhappy

RIM, a Canadian brown-noser

I wonder why RIM would bend over backwards to accommodate some U.S. politicians.

Although my first wife died from a rear-ender involving a drunk, I personally don't think the average DUI would have either the wherewithal to manipulate a smartphone or the inclination.

The gesture, on RIMs part is so futile and meaningless, since the App can be sourced from Third Parties and even if the pols banned it in the U.S.A. it could be downloaded from overseas.

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