Smartphone vendors have been selling apps that allow users to locate known
drunk driving checkpoints and add new checkpoints into the system for
others to see.
DUI checkpoint apps such as PhantomALERT, iRadar, Checkpointer and Buzzed
have quickly become popular with users. However, if the attorneys general
of Maryland and Delaware get their way, these apps will be banned.
The attorney general claims the apps let users find and circumvent DUI
checkpoints, which makes it easier for people to drink and drive. One
of the attorney general even referred to the apps as a “roadmap”
for intoxicated drivers.
Blackberry used to offer one of these apps, which was called PhantomALERT,
but no longer does so. The attorneys general commended Blackberry for
removing the DUI checkpoint app. Now, they are calling on Google and Apple
to ban the various checkpoint location apps that are available for the
Android and the iPhone.
However, Google and Apple are under no legal obligation to stop selling
the apps. Many people are surprised to learn that there is nothing illegal
about buying or using these applications. The information the apps give
is publicly available and provided either by police departments or by
other drivers. Therefore, while the attorneys general may claim Google
and Apple have a corporate responsibility to remove the applications,
the businesses are not legally bound to do so.
People who are in favor of Google and Apple continuing to sell these apps
point out that letting the government determine which products should
be made available to the public could be a slippery slope. What do you think?