back to article NSA gunning for Google, wants cop-spotting dropped from Waze app

The US National Sheriffs' Association wants Google to block its crowd-sourced traffic app Waze from being able to report the position of police officers, saying the information is putting officer's lives at risk. "The police community needs to coordinate an effort to have the owner, Google, act like the responsible corporate …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Land of the free - not

    Does the NSA also wish for the internet to be banned, it is after all being used by bad people...

    Any application that shows the location of Coffee & Donut shops will also have to be banned. I predict a lawsuit funded by Dunkins.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Land of the free - not

      "The US National Sheriffs' Association wants Google to block its crowd-sourced traffic app Waze from being able to report the position of police officers, saying the information is putting officer's lives at risk."

      Typical. They want to access our email accounts, track our cell phone locations, scan our license plates, video all major intersections through traffic cams, but none of their info should get out because they are afraid it might be used for dark purposes.

      Join the club you bunch of hypocrites.

    2. Eddy Ito Silver badge

      Re: Land of the free - not

      Don't worry, they'll ban dialing 911 (999 in the UK, IIRC) next. After all, a criminal intent on killing cops could simply call in some incident like a stolen car and wait for their target to show up to take a report. Why go to a donut shop for take out when you can have emergency services deliver?

      1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        Re: Land of the free - not

        Surely tracking police 24/7 is the only way to keep them safe from terrorists?

      2. Anonymous Blowhard

        Re: Land of the free - not

        "a criminal intent on killing cops could simply call in some incident like a stolen car and wait for their target to show up to take a report"

        They'd have to be pretty patient though...

  2. jbburks

    Just radar, not police.

    I don't want to see where police are... just where radar surveillance is in process.

    I have a disability and I'm allergic to X and K band radar waves. ;-)

    1. Charles W.E. Johnson

      Re: Just radar, not police.

      So maybe a time/distance filter would allow speed-trap warning, but not provide situational awareness of broader deployment patterns which might facilitate criminal operational planning.

      1. Brewster's Angle Grinder Silver badge
        Facepalm

        Re: Just radar, not police.

        @Charles

        If the criminally minded are smart enough to do "operational planning" they can send out spotters to "case" the location. Or they could get together and run an equivalent service on the blacknet, offering a discount on drugs purchases for every cop reported.

      2. P. Lee Silver badge

        Re: Just radar, not police.

        I think you give criminals too much credit. Any criminal who obtains that awareness is probably not worried by a traffic cop.

    2. CaptainBanjax

      Re: Just radar, not police.

      Allergic? Man that sucks.

      The best solution is to raise the speed limits. Less people will speed that way.

    3. leexgx

      Re: Just radar, not police.

      the spotting is used manly for marking police speed traps or Drunk traps, fastest way to get though one is to turn around so you get pulled so you can go faster

  3. Henry Wertz 1 Gold badge

    However...

    However, in my state, the location of speed traps (which, lets face it, is why the police are marked in Waze) is considered public information, and in fact the public access channel lists the speed trap locations (or at least it used to.) It would be considered illegal here to have anyone tell anyone else "no, you cannot post this information." (edit: Well, freedom of speech, you as a citizen can SAY whatever you'd like, but wouldn't be able to enforce in any way having someone not post the info.)

    1. Oninoshiko

      Re: However...

      yep, I'm so not buying the "officer safety" line.

      If you really want to shoot a cop, just walk around till you see one, then shoot. That's what this last nutter did.

      note: I do not condone violence against cops, so please don't do that. I also do not condone lackluster prosecutors when they end up on the defense in court though, which is why there is such an anti-cop mentality lately.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: However...

        Just go to police station if you want to find a cop.

        Or will police station locations have to be removed from Google Maps, etc, as they present a target for bombers?

    2. Eddy Ito Silver badge

      Speed traps

      Agreed. The app is about speed traps not stalking cops. It may make the more cynical among us wonder, do police get bonuses based on how much money they make for the municipality in fines?

      1. Mark 85 Silver badge

        Re: Speed traps

        In some of the smaller towns where there's perhaps 200 residents and 3 cops, yes. Their pay and "bonuses" are based upon the revenue stream they generate.

    3. Wade Burchette Silver badge

      Re: However...

      The US Supreme Court ruled that when someone flashes their lights to warn of a police trap that that was protected speech. If you want to put the police in an untenable situation, ask them that if the purpose of a police trap is to get people to slow down, then how is it a bad thing when you caused a person to slow down? The officer will not want to admit that a speed trap is about money.

      1. dan1980

        Re: However...

        @Wade Burchette

        "If you want to put the police in an untenable situation, ask them that if the purpose of a police trap is to get people to slow down, then how is it a bad thing when you caused a person to slow down?"

        I'm no fan of speed cameras and especially no fan of police officers hiding with portable radar guns, but there would be a very simple, reasonable response that your hypothetical police officer could give.

        He or she could say that the purpose of mobile radars is to get people to slow down not just in the current vicinity of the trap but everywhere and the only way to do that is to make it so that drivers do not know where or when they might get caught and so are prompted to drive at the speed limit everywhere and at all times. If people can know ahead of time where the radars are, they therefore know where they are not and so there is no deterrent for speeding generally.

        In other words, if you know where the traps are, the deterrent is only for speeding in one small area, rather than getting people to do the speed limit everywhere.

        Yes, they are revenue raisers but any half-way intelligent police officer would hardly find themselves in an 'untenable' situation.

        1. Fluffy Bunny
          Holmes

          Re: However...

          "Yes, they are revenue raisers but any half-way intelligent police officer would hardly find themselves in an 'untenable' situation."

          I used to think that only idiots got caught speeding. Then along came aircraft spotters, laser speed radars, fixed speed radars and red-light/speed cameras. There are only two possible interpretations:

          1. when the first speed cameras didn't work, they cops thought that means they need to put lots more out there, even when lots more don't work - this just goes to show cops are imbeciles.

          2. when the first speed cameras didn't slow traffic, but did raise lots of money, the cops bosses thought this is a good thing, we need to put lots more out there & rip all the money we can out of those schlepps - this just goes to show cops work for lying conniving polititians.

          An now we come to our present situation, where the schlepps are trying to find ways of not giving us lots and lots of money. Oh, and if you think that you just don't need to speed to avoid paying fines (I used to), In Victoria will be fined heavily for being a single kilometer over the speed limit (as measure by them, not you).

          And yes, all over Australia, speed limits are being lowered progressively so it is impossible to get anywhere without speeding. The latest is 25KM in the centre of Canberra.

          1. dan1980

            Re: However...

            Woah.

            And I though 40km in Sydney was bad.

          2. Dr. Mouse Silver badge

            Re: However...

            Oh, and if you think that you just don't need to speed to avoid paying fines (I used to), In Victoria will be fined heavily for being a single kilometer over the speed limit (as measure by them, not you).

            The vast majority of cars' speedos read faster than you are going. Therefore, if your speedo indicates that you are doing the speed limit, you will probably be safe. Best to check your own car, though, against GPS or similar.

            Incidentally France recently brought in the same rule, and a motorcycle magazine published a large list of bikes and their speedo offsets. While the vast majority read fast, there were a few they flagged up as reading slow. People on these bikes in France would need to be very careful, as they do not accept the excuse of "my speedo said I was under".

          3. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Speed limits in Canberra

            In the UK various UK road safety groups are trying to get 20MPH speed zones - Something many UK police organisations say is unenforceable because of the accuracy of an average car speedo.

            15MPH in Canberra!

            Ahh well, if people compared road speed to current Australian political progress you'd soon be down to 0MPH, or maybe even driving backwards..

            1. Martin

              Re: Speed limits in Canberra

              In the UK various UK road safety groups are trying to get 20MPH speed zones - Something many UK police organisations say is unenforceable because of the accuracy of an average car speedo.

              It may be unenforceable, but it still works. I live in a 20mph zone; it's enforced by signs and speed bumps. And it's noticeable that people drive more slowly round the street since the change. Given that there's a school on the street, that's no bad thing.

              1. DropBear Silver badge
                Joke

                Re: Speed limits in Canberra

                "15MPH in Canberra!"

                I suppose this is not the same case as with the old anecdote, where a bloke in a Porsche tearing up the highway runs into a "Speedlimit 60" sign. Cursing ensues, but the driver slows down - only to shortly pass another "Speedlimit 45" sign. Swearing gets noticeably louder, but the restriction is observed. Until a "Speedlimit 15" then a "Speedlimit 5" comes along, at which point profanity is starting to approach apoplectic levels - then eventually one more sign appears: "Welcome to Speedlimit, population 2174"...

  4. channel extended
    Unhappy

    Local Police Community...

    Appaerently they want to keep the "local police community" secret so they can continue doing "secret police community" thingys.

    That won't end well.

  5. Charles W.E. Johnson

    I'm afraid I agree of the potential danger to law enforcement

    Although I'd personally love to know where the speed traps are located, as these are generally BS municipal revenue generators having little to do directly with public safety, I have to agree that the law enforcement tracking function of the service poses unacceptable dangers to the LE officers as well as to the public. I'd support outlawing this kind of service for the public good.

    1. Mark 85 Silver badge

      Re: I'm afraid I agree of the potential danger to law enforcement

      Erm... no. There's already enough secrecy about where the cops are and what they're doing. It's fine that there's operational security. But to totally ban this is bad. Do we want our police to be a "secret police" where they can do pretty much what they want with no citizen oversight? Speed traps, revenue generators, even the so-called drunk roadblocks on major holidays are not the issue as most of these are pretty well known. For example, I know that every Tuesday, there's a camera car set up on a certain stretch of road.

      But what about when there's a hostage situation? Or a "shots fired" issue? Or an accident that's closed the road. It would be nice to know this without having to read about it on Faceblog or some other site so that the area can be avoided. If they want to track us, then we should be able to track them. Most citizens are not criminals and neither are the cops (usually).

      1. Crazy Operations Guy Silver badge

        Do we want our police to be a "secret police"

        We're already half way there with the PATRIOT ACT. The feds are able to send out National Security Letters (that don't let you tell anyone about them) and are upheld by a court (FISC) that lacks oversight and does not allow any representation to contest the order. The only thing stopping police is the PR nightmare that would be generated...

      2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: I'm afraid I agree of the potential danger to law enforcement

        "Most citizens are not criminals and neither are the cops (usually)."

        For that matter, cops are also citizens.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Trollface

          Re: I'm afraid I agree of the potential danger to law enforcement

          really? i thought they were foreign merceneries the way they act.

    2. David Kelly 2

      Re: I'm afraid I agree of the potential danger to law enforcement

      If the National Sheriff's Association is correct then lets take this to the logical extremes. Clearly mere citizens are all at risk having unique license plate numbers on our vehicles. At risk having a phonebook published with our name, number, and address.

      If police cruisers were not INTENDED to be identified as police cruisers then they would use plain unmarked vehicles, which they often (mostly) do.

  6. phil dude
    Joke

    strange...

    the whole point of the police is to be seen.

    If they were smart (yes, I know a bit of a stretch) they would make it trivial to find out where all police traps etc were.

    This would be useful for , example, highway accident spots. Y'know, as they keep claiming.

    I'll wager if you had icons on google maps for "drug cops" on your town, that would not lead to drugs being sold elsewhere.

    Why? Because there is already a huge bias in policing based upon the re-enforcement of socioeconomic stereotypes.

    We all know what the biases are...

    P.

    1. Charles W.E. Johnson

      Re: strange...

      Bias, or situational awareness?

      1. G Mac

        Re: strange...

        Bias.

        If it was situational awareness there would be more publicised arrests for the white-collar use of prostitutes and Bolivian marching powder, particularly the Wall Street types. I live in NYC and don't see any.

        Guys, any visibility of that in The City (of London)?

        1. This post has been deleted by its author

        2. disgruntled yank Silver badge

          Re: strange...

          Do you remember a governor of New York state, one Eliot Spitzer? Admittedly, his downfall was in connection with a transaction in Washington, DC.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: strange...(Bias indeed, misinformed bias)

      You are a criminal when you commit a crime. The fact is that most criminals are white, not black. See the link to the 2013 FBI national crime stats below.

      You don't usually end up a shooting victim if you aren't a criminal or don't resist arrest. There is no "stereotype" involved. The only stereotype is the lies we have heard forever from the Al Sharptons and Jesse Jacksons, who are the biggest race baiters there are next to Eric Holder.

      The thing is that you can be poor and not be a criminal, you have a choice and you get to make it; not anyone else. If you don't associate with criminals you usually have nothing to worry about.

      http://www.fbi.gov/about-us/cjis/ucr/crime-in-the-u.s/2013/crime-in-the-u.s.-2013/tables/table-43

      1. phil dude
        Boffin

        Re: strange...(Bias indeed, misinformed bias)

        my point was (for those who understand statistics) is that police resources are not deployed uniformly. And crime is not distributed uniformly.

        One of the biggest indicators of street level crime , is population density. Doesn't take much of a stretch to realise that in London and New York, the neighbourhoods with the most "street level" crime are those of poorest and most compact. It is a function of the population density, but not exclusively.

        A *secondary* effect is that those people with the resources will live in another places. No one *chooses* to live in a poor area (however you define poor), we all live where we can afford.

        As a consequence for those who do not understand statistics it can seem like the bias is somehow external.

        Being poor does not make you a criminal anymore than being British makes you crap at football. The opportunity to change ones environment to better suit ones skill set is the bane of all society and a pretty good measure of "equality".

        The problem is we *ALL* want the police to be uniformly effective, but the landscape is not uniform. They don't just pick easy targets, easy targets are easy to pick.

        Statistically my definition of a "criminal stereotype" is the most common type identifier that describe the largest set of criminal defendants.

        The bias is all yours...

        P.

      2. unitron

        Re: strange...(Bias indeed, misinformed bias)

        But if you're poor, your choice of where to live is much more limited, and not being a criminal and not associating with them won't protect you from having them live nearby, putting you at risk when they're shooting at each other, when they and the cops are shooting at each other, and when the cops do a no-knock raid in the wee small hours of the morning, only they got the address wrong by a number or two, and your child just had a smoke grenade explode in their face.

        1. phil dude
          Pint

          Re: strange...(Bias indeed, misinformed bias)

          I believe I covered that with "noone chooses to live in a poor area"

          In the UK walking is a factor, so areas can gradually go from expensive to poor.

          Here in the US walking is not usually a factor and so these neighbourhoods are not adjacent.

          In fact, not having a car in the US indicates a much poorer state than not having one in the UK (or most of Europe)

          P.

      3. Trevor_Pott Gold badge

        Re: strange...(Bias indeed, misinformed bias)

        "You are a criminal when you commit a crime."

        Everyone breaks the law at least three times a day. Our laws are structured like that. We're all criminals. It's just a question of whether or not we've irritated someone in power enough for them to put effort into finding out what they can nail us for.

        What is the point in trying obeying the law when the law cannot reasonably be obeyed? Rome had this problem, you know. Their laws were too many and too complex that - eventually - people just stopped caring. This is where the USA is today. It's not about whether or not you break the law, it's about whether or not you obey your "betters".

        And that's a really shitty way to run a society.

  7. Brewster's Angle Grinder Silver badge
    Trollface

    Enters stealth mode:

    You know,, cops wouldn't be in as much danger if you banned the natives from carrying penis extensions firearms.

    1. DougS Silver badge

      Given the way the police want to become 'secret police' and can choke a man to death on camera for selling cigarettes individually and not only not get indicted but keep their job and have paid leave during the investigation, don't you think the citizens deserve to have a way to defend themselves from a government continuing to reach for ever more power?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        > don't you think the citizens deserve to have a way to defend themselves from a government

        This argument is nonsense. Citizens cannot ever use firearms against the police or government in a developed country. They will simply be labelled as criminals/terrorists and the government can legally fight back with significantly more manpower and better weaponry. That approach is only feasible in countries with very limited police and military resources.

        If you want to fight a powerful government successfully, you have to do it the non-violent way. The way Gandhi fought the British in India.

        1. Afernie

          "If you want to fight a powerful government successfully, you have to do it the non-violent way. The way Gandhi fought the British in India."

          Ghandi's campaign against the British was unsuccessful. When partition and independence came, it was on terms exactly opposite from those he wished for, and many in the non-cooperation movement eventually turned to violence, with Ghandi losing control of the spirit of the protest. The British in India were harsh and authoritarian, but ultimately they cared about popular opinion and simply didn't have the same level of totalitarian zeal as the Axis.

          Ghandi to the British in 1940:

          "I would like you to lay down the arms you have as being useless for saving you or humanity. You will invite Herr Hitler and Signor Mussolini to take what they want of the countries you call your possessions... If these gentlemen choose to occupy your homes, you will vacate them. If they do not give you free passage out, you will allow yourselves, man, woman, and child, to be slaughtered, but you will refuse to owe allegiance to them."

          No thanks.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Coat

        ..but I did not shoot the deputy

    2. Crazy Operations Guy Silver badge

      Yeah, because we all know how the UK doesn't have any gun crime at all...

      1. DavCrav Silver badge

        "Yeah, because we all know how the UK doesn't have any gun crime at all..."

        Not really, no.

        Number of gun murders in UK in 2012 (latest statistics I could easily find): 30.

        Number fo gun murders in US in 2012: 8855.

        Throw in suicide? 28621 for US, 114 for the UK. Indeed, the number of total UK suicides, by population is equivalent to 25818 in the US, which is more than suicides by firearms at 19766, but way lower than total US suicides at 38285.

        The number of TOTAL UK gun crimes, i.e., any crime involving a gun, is around the same as US murders by firearm. (This is not adjusted for population, so UK gun crime is around five times more than US gun murders, or about 30% more than total US gun deaths.)

        1. graeme leggett

          "The number of TOTAL UK gun crimes,..., so UK gun crime is around five times more than US gun murders, or about 30% more than total US gun deaths."

          What's total US gun crime figure by comparison?

          1. DavCrav Silver badge

            It took a while, but I found this from 2011: 467,321. The problem with comparing crime statistics from different countries is that they count things differently. For example, if you listen to a bunch of liars, they will tell you that US violent crime is significantly lower than UK violent crime. Putting aside for the moment that not all violent crime is the same, and we should treat a murder as much more important than a mugging, for example, the difference is that crime is recorded differently in the two countries, and "violent crime" in the UK is often classed as non-violent crime in the US.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Yeah, because we all know how the UK doesn't have any gun crime at all...

        However, our biggest problem with gun crime is when the police think there is going to be a gun crime and shoot someone.

  8. Silviu C.

    Aren't they in danger when hiding in bushes with the radar gun? :) NSA, stop putting your employees lives in danger. Take them off the streets!

  9. War President
    Big Brother

    Quis custodiet ipsos custodes? Nobody, apparently...

    It's perfectly acceptable for the government to track your every movement ("Stingray" mobile phone trackers, vehicle license plate scanners, police drones flying over your property, street cameras everywhere), but gods no, we can't have anyone "tracking" public officials carrying out their public-funded duties in public.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Officer safety aside...

    Isn't there plenty of other ways of gathering said information? Aren't armed bank robberies usually planned in advance by a group? A group who would be more interested in police patrol routes, shift changes, armored car schedules, etc? Not stationary speed traps. In fact such information would probably deter criminal activity in an area due to response time. I presume, much like a hacker, a criminal is going to prefer the low hanging fruit in an attempt to avoid detection and avoid unnecessary risks. Those who don't care about risk vs reward are probably more apt to get into a gun fight with authorities and have little or no planning skills.

    Besides aren't police scanners still a thing? Or have most municipalities switched to something encrypted? Assuming it hasn't been cracked.

    Instead of trying to control information after it's out of the box why not give cops more tools to protect themselves? How about taking that nifty 3D camera scanning feature like on a certain AR headset and use it to provide additional situational awareness for cops? Have it track cars and pedestrians for signs of ill intent? Speed, erratic movement, etc.

    This feels like the blame game with little real substance. If a shooter(s) storm a courthouse and kill a bunch of people is it the media's fault for announcing the location of a trial despite the fact that information is available elsewhere?

  11. connermac725

    Double standard there

    funny how it is when the shoe is on the other foot

  12. Marketing Hack Silver badge
    Stop

    The officer tracking fears are hyperbole...

    Waze lets you report cop's locations, but..

    A) if you are reporting an individual cop or cop car, those move around as they pull over traffic violators, get other calls, etc. So by the time you really see a cop on Waze, there is a good chance that they have moved on from that location

    B) If you report traffic stops, cops at accidents or sobriety checkpoints, then there are at least 4-5 officers at each of those. Unless you are interested in "suicide-by-cop", you are not going to take on that many officers.

    C) The cops being reported are uniformed public officials in black-and-whites, operating in public spaces. Their activities can also impact traffic flow. They have no right to shield their presence from taxpayers and responsible motorists.

    D) Waze also allows you to report road work, and therefore public road workers. I doubt they mind having their locations reported.

    I'm guessing that this is A) massive oversensitivity bordering on paranoia about a statistically miniscule chance that Waze will be used to track down a random cop and kill him and B) people are using Waze to avoid speed traps and sobriety checkpoints, and police departments are worried about their traffic ticket revenues.

    1. elDog

      Re: The officer tracking fears are hyperbole...

      The National Sheriff's Agency (no such agency) is not really concerned about the officers out on patrol. And I agree that, operationally, information posted on Waze is probably way out of date by the time you are passing through that part of town.

      I don't remember any attempt to limit (in the US) the CB usage of Bear (and all of the attendant qualifiers: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_CB_slang). Or is that because the Friendly Association of Sheriff's/COPS/FBI/Etc. had already captured and controlled this form of communication?

      They are much more concerned about networks of communications that they don't control. They are concerned about a proliferation of non-fb, non-google+, non-tweeter networks that they now have to monitor.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: The officer tracking fears are hyperbole...

      What we need are citizen-owned cameras and drones that report cop positions to a real time database.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: The officer tracking fears are hyperbole...

        And MPs

  13. RainbowTrout

    When I used waze (I found it too much of a distraction so got rid of it) I never found the police/sheriff speed traps, they were never where the app reported them to be.......

  14. SFC

    Really?

    So Waze can remove the "report a cop" and replace it with "report an overturned pork truck". Do they think removing the ability to report cops is going to cause this functionality to disappear? I think it's time we're allowed, as citizens, to sue the individuals responsible for this frivolous lawsuit. They're wasting MY taxpayer dollars. And I sure as hell didn't give them permission to do so.

  15. Midnight

    Something's not right

    A group of people who wear drive brightly lit cars with distinctive logos on the sides and wear highly recognizable uniforms with funny hats are concerned that people might know where they are when they are out in public?

    That sounds about as reasonable as walking around downtown dressed as a giant carrot while saying "Shhh... I'm invisible. You can't see me!" to everyone you meet.

    1. Marketing Hack Silver badge

      Re: Something's not right

      Maybe we should give the cops towels to throw over their heads. Just remember, if you can't see the opposition, they must not be able to see you.

  16. Ragequit

    Garbage in Garbage out.

    In hindsight they could effectively make the service unusable by having all the significant others and family members enter and rank up fake police locations. Crowd sourced does not mean it's verifiable. Hell they could even setup honey pots if organized crime used it to hunt down officers. Set a couple traps and most criminals in the know wouldn't dare to trust the data.

    No, someone is making this far to personal or political. Rather than think outside the box a little and turn this into a tool to trap would be cop killers they just want the problem to go away.

    Unless of course there really isn't a problem to begin with.

    1. YetAnotherLocksmith Bronze badge

      Re: Garbage in Garbage out.

      They'd give up the trap idea after the third month of overtime when, yet again, nothing happened, & a reporter found out how much it cost.

      It's a nonsense.

  17. Graham Marsden
    WTF?

    "Breaker one-nine...

    "Breaker one-nine with a Smokey report. We got a bear running east on I-40, his twenty is about mile marker 243. Anybody out there copy, over?"

    The Rubber Duck on the Citizens' Band Radio, from Convoy - 1978

    1. phil dude
      Coat

      Re: "Breaker one-nine...

      I think that's just outside Nashville (I'm at 389)....

      P.

      1. Graham Marsden

        @phil dude - Re: "Breaker one-nine...

        Well according to the song, it's Arizona (noon) ;-)

        (And according to a quick search, it's near Forrest City AR)

  18. elip

    too much nuance.

    That's the problem with us techies: there is far too much nuance in this comments section. With regards to this almost ludicrous-sounding police bitch-fest, I say, 'fuck the police'. That is all.

  19. dan1980

    I don't want police officers to be injured or killed, the same way I think it would be grand if the rest of the population could stay safe.

    BUT, as a police officer, you are there to uphold the law and protect the people and sometimes this means being in harm's way yourself. That's the reality of the job and it's the very premise upon which respect for police officers rests - or at least it is for me.

    There are important reasons for having police visible in uniforms, with marked squad cars and badges and there are important reasons why police officers must identify themselves and civilians are within their rights to film them. I fully accept that this can make them a target but that's the way it is - it's what the job entails so if you don't like it then don't be a police officer. There are other jobs you can do.

    I don't know how it is in the US and UK but here in Australia it seems that police safety is more important to our politicians than their conduct and the rights of the public. Which is wrong. Police safety is important, of course, and a live police officer is generally more useful than a dead one but their safety is largely secondary to the rights of the people they are paid to protect. I particularly despise the use of riot police every weekend in Sydney 'hot spots', as they are a massive over-reaction and are authorised to basically be exceptionally rude and rough.

    I have two close friends who are police officers and I do occasionally worry about them. I also worry about my three friends and one relative in the armed forces. But all those people chose their careers and they signed onto those risks.

    On a less generous note, not all police officers are good people. Some are, of course. Probably most. But plenty are arrogant, unprofessional, brutish, domineering, rude, power-hungry, inconsiderate, self-righteous, belligerent, unscrupulous, hypocritical, volatile, deceitful, unethical, self-serving and outright corrupt. Of course there are also those who are racist and sexist or those whose biases and personal prejudices spill over into their duty.

    We also know that police forces are systemically corrupt and such corruption THRIVES where there is no transparency. We know that officers who have acted grossly improperly have been either not investigated internally at all or not properly. We know that police officers abuse their powers and their is an ingrained feeling that they can act with a degree of impunity. We have instances of outright lying, backed up by fellow officers that have only come to light when footage has been found and instances where footage has been deleted or denied to exist only to be found later and shown to contradict the police's version of events. We have seen medical reports and footage that reveal that victims had been 'drive stunned' with a taser multiple times, even when already in custody, and recordings of officers choking people with their batons and applying all manner of unnecessary force - yet these officers are nearly never fired, or even properly disciplined for these instances.

    So, while I do feel for the genuinely good, level-headed, polite, trustworthy officers whose jobs may be made more difficult, until the entire police force is unimpeachably ethical and professional, we will need MORE transparency, and not less and if that means a tiny increase in risk for those officers, well that is the price that they must pay for giving us all cause to not trust them.

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Surveillance

    Hmmm.

    Good when they do it.

    Bad when its done to them.

  21. TheresaJayne

    The report police option is designed to show where lazy police are sat doing speed traps and waiting to jump on normal citizens as a form of raising funds.

    In america the police report option will just allow people to find the local donut shop...

    You don't report the location of a police car travelling down the street, just that crafty cop who is hidden behind an ad hoarding waiting for the miscreant speeder to go past doing 1/2 mph over the limit.

  22. Amorous Cowherder
    Facepalm

    So what?

    I would be glad if I was in trouble and knew exactly where the nearest copper was when I needed them!

    Just 'cos good people make things that bad people can use for bad things, does not make said thing a bad thing itself!

  23. Harry Anslinger

    Police have no expectation of privacy in public

    Law enforcement has no privacy rights in public while performing their duties. Citizens may observe, photograph and film them as long as they do not interfere. Citizens have the right to report on the location of public officials performing their public duties.

    National Sheriff's Association can go f**k themselves. Citizens have the right to observe and report on law enforcement.

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Man you guys watch too much tv

    As someone that works with law enforcement you all have some pretty bizarre ideas as to what the average sheriff, city, state police officer does or has access to. Lets take a rural state. There may only be one officer for 2,000 square miles so "backup" is not likely. Most police agencies don't have any of the technology you all prattle on about like it is at the 5 and dime. Police agencies in 99.9% of the US don't, repeat DON"T buy traffic cameras, speed cameras, etc. These are the city and county elected official, you know the people you voted for, that wanted to make a bit more cash. Most law enforcement agencies stay silent on the = or - of red light cameras etc as they know the data does not support these devices as a public safety investment. Most law enforcement in their wildest dreams would not have the money for the toys you talk about. Before you babble on about police being paranoid do some research, i know it takes work so you won't. Look at the old abortion clinic bombings of the past, guess what, the bombers were laying traps for police/fire/ems crews that were responding, they studied their operations and started to place bombs at the response gathering sites. Is it appropriate for a program to target specific individuals by how they dress? Perhaps if it is we can add a Muslim, icon to the application as well.

    1. Afernie

      Re: Man you guys watch too much tv

      " Look at the old abortion clinic bombings of the past, guess what, the bombers were laying traps for police/fire/ems crews that were responding, they studied their operations and started to place bombs at the response gathering sites."

      Cite examples.

    2. dan1980

      Re: Man you guys watch too much tv

      @AC

      "Look at the old abortion clinic bombings of the past, guess what, the bombers were laying traps for police/fire/ems crews that were responding, they studied their operations and started to place bombs at the response gathering sites.

      Right, so what you're saying is essentially that it's perfectly possible to 'lay traps' and target police without applications like 'Waze', which is essentially what so many other people have said. Even then, however, what you're saying is not quite the same as Waze wouldn't have helped in the example you have given. Why? Because the attacks you are talking about relied on knowing where police would be, not where they are.

      As has been said in other posts, tracking mobile police in this way is largely pointless and the information gets stale REAL fast. Thus, what it is really there for is identifying and broadcasting static police operations and these are almost certain to be squad cars and officers perched with radar guns or conducting alcohol screenings. And, as that's the only information that's really going to be of much use to anyone, it's very likely that it's the ability that this app provides to avoid such operations that has the NSA in a huff.

      "Is it appropriate for a program to target specific individuals by how they dress? Perhaps if it is we can add a Muslim icon to the application as well."

      No, and it's not the same. Not even close. The first problem is that with Waze, you are identifying people by their JOB and not by any other defining features. The second problem is that presumably identifying Muslims would be plotting the location of private citizens engaged in their private lives, which is rather different than public officials or private contractors performing their public duties, being paid with public money.

      The police can have no expectation of privacy when conducting their publicly-appointed duties. If they want privacy, take off the uniform, unstrap the gun and the taser, step out of the squad car, hand back the cuffs, the radio and the badge and go get a job working in a call center, or selling insurance, or fixing computers (we're pretty much anonymous to our users . . .) or painting ceilings or waiting tables or driving a truck or any of thousands of other jobs that don't have, as a central responsibility, the upholding of the law and the protection of the public.

      Is it appropriate for a program to target specific individuals by how they dress? Perhaps if it is we can add a Muslim, icon to the application as well.

  25. This post has been deleted by its author

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Coat

    All in all

    From the comments I can't see what the complainents problem really is; possibly they are just publicity seekers who make the police appear to be wusses

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Google?

    Responsible corporate citizen?

    *snerk*

  28. Christoph Silver badge

    Some law abiding US citizens need to know where the police are, for their own safety. So they can avoid walking down the street past them and getting shot dead for Walking While Black.

  29. JaitcH
    WTF?

    Honey Pots - aka Fund Raising

    So the Cops can use technology, but not their victims?

    Many traffic signal light control computers are used by Plod and Company to determine where 'speeding zones' are located. They then set their speed 'guns' up and rake in the revenue.

    In Toronto there are several well-known 'Honey Pots' - one on Bloor Street East just past Greenwood, on the Don Valley Parkway side. Especially on Sunday evenings.

    I once got ticketed for speeding on Toronto's Thorncliffe Park Drive - whilst in a favourite Honey Pot location. The problem was I was on foot and was swinging my key ring in my hand! Still got a ticket - and the Cop scored a cookie point with his sergeant. The judge threw the charge out.

    Waze, etc., don't endanger Cops and Plods - only in their 'minds'. The USA has a Constitutional right to free speech and this includes listing Honey Pots. Britain, naturally, has a different view point - they use BANNING.

  30. BJS

    To protect and serve

    Apparently, the motto seen on many US police cars should have been more explicit: "To protect and serve ... the police". I mean seriously, if you don't like the risk of being shot at, you made a serious career blunder.

  31. Greg Noeninckx

    consistency

    In my neighborhood, the police announce their speed traps on Twitter. http://goo.gl/8SsBcc

    Need to be careful that we're not creating a story out of one police organization's offhand comment or preference in the fallout from a tragedy.

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