Google Refuses to Pull DUI Checkpoint Apps

Google has refused to pull Android applications that lets users avoid DUI checkpoints, despite pressure from four U.S. senators, according to a report today.

The apps, such as PhantomAlert, Buzzed or Trapster, do not violate Android Market policy, a source told International Business Times. Senators Harry Reid (D-Nev.), Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.), Frank R. Lautenberg (D-N.J.), and Tom Udall (D-N.M.) sent letters to Apple, Google and Research in Motion asking them to remove the apps because they are a danger to the public. So far, only Research in Motion has agreed to pull the apps. Apple hasn't responded publicly.

"We appreciate the technology that has allowed millions of Americans to have information at their fingertips, but giving drunk drivers a free tool to evade checkpoints, putting innocent families and children at risk, is a matter of public concern. We hope that you will give our request to make these applications unavailable immediate consideration," the senators said in their letters.

While some may point out that the Android Market prohibits illegal activities, avoiding DUI checkpoints isn't illegal. Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol is illegal. The two are not the same and equating them as such does a disservice to the public. Will the government become involved every time there's a possibility an application might help a potential criminal? Will they try to stop Google Maps because it might help bank robbers? Will they try to stop Angry Birds because it may teach people to abuse animals?

No one's going to come out to support drunk drivers, so for the senators it's no-brainer political grandstanding. However, applications that let users avoid DUI checkpoints isn't illegal and nor should they be pulled from the Android Market because some people, including senators, don't like them.

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