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Senators To Apple: Pull iPhone DUI-Check Alerts

timothy posted more than 3 years ago | from the tell-us-senator-your-opinion-on-net-neutrality dept.

Crime 348

CWmike writes "Four US senators on Tuesday called on Apple to yank iPhone and iPad apps that help drunken drivers evade police, saying the programs are 'harmful to public safety.' The CEO of the company that makes one such app said the senators' demand was 'a knee-jerk reaction.'" Hugh Pickens points out that "Similar apps are available for the iPhone and RIM. Apple released a set of App Store guidelines in September that spells out what apps are and are not allowed to do. Included on that list of 'don'ts' are 'apps that encourage excessive consumption of alcohol or illegal substances, or encourage minors to consume alcohol or smoke cigarettes.'"

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348 comments

typical garbage (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35584618)

Don't we have country with a deficit problem...wars? There are bigger problems....this highlights what is wrong with our country. That app does not encourage anything...it's just a tool....jesus christ..wait, I'm not religious. Fuck.

Multitaksking (3, Insightful)

stomv (80392) | more than 3 years ago | (#35584714)

Believe it or not, a Senator [and his staff] can do more than one thing at a time. Besides, since young males account for the largest share of the American drunk driving population, and since young males have a large potential to contribute more to the federal tax base over then they receive in government benefits, keeping them alive and healthy does cut the deficit. Same goes for wars -- we need soldiers, and young men make fantastic soldiers.

P.S. The deficit isn't the problem. The deficit is the symptom of an economy which hasn't recovered for the middle and lower class. A lack of decent jobs is the problem.

Re:Multitaksking (1)

SharpFang (651121) | more than 3 years ago | (#35584882)

OTOH alcohol excise tax is a significant source of budget income, so maximizing ability to consume alcohol would be profitable for the budget...

Re:Multitaksking (2)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 3 years ago | (#35584960)

keeping them alive and healthy does cut the deficit.

Considering that the deficit has increased over time along with population, I'm not sure I follow your logic. More people = more services demanded = more spending. And more spending means it's easier to hide frivolous spending, which means the overall efficiency goes down too. The tax base in no way approaches the deficit - which is why there is a deficit in the first place. So "keeping them alive and healthy" will not reduce the deficit and in fact may contribute to the deficit. But of course something like this would get laughed at by government - the same government that "knows what it's doing" and has gotten us where we are in the first place. Sure, laugh.

Re:Multitaksking (1)

Hatta (162192) | more than 3 years ago | (#35585054)

The deficit is the symptom of an economy which hasn't recovered for the middle and lower class

It has recovered exactly like it was supposed to.

Re:Multitaksking (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35585062)

YM:

"since young males have a large potential to contribute to the prison bed population, well lining the pockets of private detention corporations, keeping them alive, healthy, and incarcerated is a must for any politician."

Re:Multitaksking (4, Insightful)

Kokuyo (549451) | more than 3 years ago | (#35585120)

No, the problem is a system that demands you HAVE a job even though your fellow man does NOT NEED your labor. We don't need more jobs. Obviously, we're getting the stuff we need to live quite comfortably with the jobs we have.

We're still linking 'having a job' to 'contributing to society' and therefore we're linking 'salary' to 'right to buy food and shelter'. At the same time it's every manager's duty to make his business more streamlined and thus efficient. Cutting jobs is their primary goal and rightfully so. It just runs contrary to that idea that everyone needs a job.

Full employment runs contrary to capitalism. The more efficient capitalism gets, the less workable the socialist idea of full employment becomes.

Re:typical garbage (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35584776)

I would say this post highlights what is wrong with our country a lot more than the Senators request. "We should completely ignore Problem X because Completely Unrelated Problem Y is more important is a fucking retarded argument, and making it only proves that you lack the slightest understanding of how the world works.

Re:typical garbage (-1, Troll)

Mathinker (909784) | more than 3 years ago | (#35585190)

> you lack the slightest understanding of how the world works

Assuming that you weren't talking about the disconnection between political rhetoric, politics, and the public welfare, I'm kind of interested in this world you live in where everyone has an infinite amount of time and resources to do anything they want --- in the world I'm familiar with, it is most likely that trying to solve Problem X uses resources which could have been dedicated, instead, to solving Problem Y.

Besides this small issue, your post was really insightful, though.... ;-)

Re:typical garbage (2)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 3 years ago | (#35584778)

Bigger problems are hard to solve and may involve controversy, or even taking one for the team by endorsing an unpopular solution. That sucks.

Saving the children from drunk drivers and Supporting Our Police, on the other hand, is easy and nearly risk free!

No boobs (3, Insightful)

unixcrab (1080985) | more than 3 years ago | (#35584626)

Apple's puritanical censors don't allow boobs in the app store but have no problem with apps like this? Someone's moral compass is a bit wonky...

Re:No boobs (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35584706)

Sounds fairly typical for America.

Re:No boobs (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35584768)

s/America/US/g

Re:No boobs (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35585040)

Sorry, in the English language America is the US. Deal with it, loser.

Re:No boobs (5, Funny)

gandhi_2 (1108023) | more than 3 years ago | (#35584764)

It is the moral declination.

Depending on where you are, the difference between grid moral and magnetic moral can be quite significant. In my area, the GM angle is like 13.5 degrees.... if I don't account for that, I can easily get morally lost.

Re:No boobs (0)

dogmatixpsych (786818) | more than 3 years ago | (#35584784)

In that same vein, let's get rid of the internet because it could be used for illegal activities. Or, maybe Apple and Google could pull their browsers because those can be used for morally questionable or illegal activities.

Those apps can be used for completely legitimate activities, just because they could be used for something that's illegal or even just morally questionable isn't a great reason for pulling them from the App Store (and other marketplaces for mobile apps). Maybe the apps are geared towards specifically helping drivers avoid DUIs but I can't say without looking at all of them.

Apple's not allowing nudity in apps is one thing, these types of apps are a completely different matter. Yes, maybe it does expose some inconsistencies with Apple's process but that also might depend on whether you agree or not with Apple's stance against apps that contain nudity. You can access all the nudity and porn you want (unless it uses Flash) from your iOS product, just not directly in an app.

Re:No boobs (1, Insightful)

unixcrab (1080985) | more than 3 years ago | (#35584950)

Nice rant, but you have it ass-backwards. The DUI app should not be removed/banned (free speech blah blah blah), but at the same time Apple should not be excluding apps that are subject to the same arguments about freedom of speech. Yet they do and their morality, if that is indeed the basis of their decision to not allow soft porn, comes across as more than a bit bent.

Re:No boobs (1)

Goaway (82658) | more than 3 years ago | (#35585034)

In that same vein

Actually, that was nowhere near in the same vein.

Those apps can be used for completely legitimate activities,

Such as?

Re:No boobs (5, Insightful)

Vectormatic (1759674) | more than 3 years ago | (#35585150)

evading a police checkpoint because even though i never drink and drive, i HATE getting stopped and being at the mercy of some lowly educated police thug who by law has all sorts of ways to make me uncomfortable and consume my time?

Granted, it might be a bit weak, but i consider that to be a very legitimate use of such an app, just because some people dont have the discipline to not drink when they will be driving (or not drive when they drank some beers), doesnt mean i should suffer right?

(disclaimer, dont have an iphone, dont have such an app since police checkpoints are pretty scarce here, and never drink when i drive)

Re:No boobs (1)

twistedsymphony (956982) | more than 3 years ago | (#35585308)

^that's a very good point, here's another:

"I've been drinking but I should be good to drive.... hmm looks like there's a checkpoint on my way home, maybe I shouldn't risk it..."

If you're too drunk to drive, you're probably also too drunk to operate a smart phone well enough to locate sobriety checkpoints.

Damn gubment! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35584638)

Tryin to mess wit aur free cuntree! If I wan get drunk an do recless thangs, they shouldn't stop me! If people get themselves killed by my drivin, weren't my fault, I was drunk an couldn't help it! Their own fault for bein' stupid I say!

What about the fanboi app (-1, Troll)

Chrisq (894406) | more than 3 years ago | (#35584656)

apps are and are not allowed to do. Included on that list of 'don'ts' are 'apps that encourage excessive consumption of alcohol or illegal substances, or encourage minors to consume alcohol or smoke cigarettes.'"

What about the app for the typical apple fanboi. "Hey son, this is a picture of some puppies I have in the back of my van. Do you want to come and take a look. Your mom said its OK".

1st Amendment? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35584664)

1st Amendment? We don't need no stinkin 1st Amendment!

Re:1st Amendment? (0)

unixcrab (1080985) | more than 3 years ago | (#35585058)

Fee speech for all of course, but when Apple simply ignores that and bans apps because of their content, the fanbois become conspicuously silent.

Re:1st Amendment? (1)

Dog-Cow (21281) | more than 3 years ago | (#35585144)

Apple is not subject to the 1st Amendment, though they are protected by it. The Senators are bound by the 1st Amendment, thus they can only ask Apple nicely; they can not insist upon it.

Senators should STFU (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35584668)

While drinking and driving is horrible, what's worse are government actors who conduct searches without a warrant or probable cause.

Re:Senators should STFU (2, Funny)

Chrisq (894406) | more than 3 years ago | (#35584686)

While drinking and driving is horrible, what's worse are government actors who conduct searches without a warrant or probable cause.

Yes, I'd complain to the actors' Union.

Traffic Situation (5, Insightful)

crow_t_robot (528562) | more than 3 years ago | (#35584670)

DUI check points are normally semi-hazardous traffic situations where cops have cars lined up on the side of the road with pedestrians and officers standing outside their vehicles near the boundary paint of the highway. They also cause significant traffic back-ups and delays. Knowing of these locations is useful for non-drinkers if they have to be somewhere on-time or don't want to be put in the situation to have to navigate a ludicrous human-slalom course. Just like almost any application, it can be used for good and evil. Knee-jerk, MADD-influenced political campaigning HHHOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO....

Where in the Constitution? (1, Insightful)

commodore6502 (1981532) | more than 3 years ago | (#35584730)

According to the Supreme Court, cops are not allowed to stop *every* car along a highway --- only the ones they suspect of drinking. Of course, cops ignore the SCOTUS rulings (like entering homes without warrants) and just do whatever they want anyhow.

Constitution:
I can not lay my hand on a single part of this Legal document that gives the Senate power to censor Apple's applications (or apply pressure to censor). On the contrary the law is clear:

- congress shall not censor speech
- non-enumerated rights (like owning ihones with DUI apps) are reserved to the people
- Powers not granted to the Union government are reserved to the Member States, or the People, respectiv

Re:Where in the Constitution? (4, Informative)

crow_t_robot (528562) | more than 3 years ago | (#35584780)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Terry_stop [wikipedia.org]

Cops use this as the guise to engage with you to for purposes of observing your reactions and identifying the smell of alcohol or other substances so they can then secure probably cause to make you perform a field sobriety test and/or breath test.

Re:Where in the Constitution? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35585284)

A Terry stop has nothing to do with a check point where they stop each and every car on the road for an inspection

From your link
>In the United States, a Terry stop is a brief detention of a person by police[1] on reasonable suspicion of involvement in criminal activity but short of probable cause to arrest.

Re:Where in the Constitution? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35584794)

The Senate isn't censoring Apple's applications. (The Senate, actually pass a law? Ha!) No, four Senators are using their constitutionally-protected free speech to whine at Apple in the (fairly realistic) hope that Apple will add one more thing to its extensive list of criteria that will get your app removed.

Re:Where in the Constitution? (2)

Sarten-X (1102295) | more than 3 years ago | (#35584846)

The Constitution has nothing to do with this. A few senators were standing around one day and somebody mentioned this app, and thew others said it's a bad idea. The headline may as well read "3rd-grade teacher, zookeeper, astrophysicist, and bus driver to Apple".

Now, if there's public support for this idea, then there might be a proposal for legislation, which would likely be a large complicated mess falling under the "interstate commerce" clause, but I doubt that will happen. There's far too many assholes out there who think they have a God-given right to ignore any law they don't like.

Re:Where in the Constitution? (1)

oh_my_080980980 (773867) | more than 3 years ago | (#35584982)

I guess you missed the bit about them asking Apple to pull the app. That's different from a Senator opining about the pros and cons of an app.

It's dangerously close to being censorship and considering the government's recent interest in anti-trust issues concerning Apple, it could be a threat.

Re:Where in the Constitution? (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35585026)

It's just four Senators; you need 60 to actually do anything. Just because someone is a Senator does not mean that they give up their Constitutional right to whine about everything.

Re:Where in the Constitution? (1)

Ravon Rodriguez (1074038) | more than 3 years ago | (#35585210)

If someone tries to put it into a bill, then you can whine about censorship; until then, it's no different than you, me, or anyone else asking for the app to be pulled. I'll concede that they might have a bigger voice than the rest of us, but the burden still falls completely on Apple to heed or dismiss the request. Perceived authority is not the same as actual authority; both you and I have been around long enough to know this, and so have the people at Apple who will ultimately decide this app's fate.

Re:Where in the Constitution? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35585140)

The constitution is relevant on several levels:

1. The practice the police are defending is unconstitutional (they need a warrant signed by a judge specifying what they intend to search and why they think they will find it before they can require a private citizen to submit to a search). Driving a car down a given road is not probably cause and therefore should be insufficient for a warrant.

2. A member of Congress represents that body. Writing a letter to Apple (most likely) using their free mail privlage to do so looks like a statement of intent (sort of a do this or we'll write a law forcing your hand). That's questionable ethics, but it also means the question of whether or not Congress has the authority to make such legislation is relevant.

3. It's not immediately obvious what portions of the Constitution apply to this case. The first (freedom of speech) second (right to bare arms) and fifth (right to due process) amendments all have a case

Prove your innocence (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35584866)

Roadblocks are a blatant attack on the principle of innocent before proven guilty, same as wiretapping and spying without due process. These are tools of oppression, not freedom.

The age-old tyrant's claim of "if you are innocent, then you have no reason to hide" should be answered precisely: if I am innocent, then you have no reason to question me. Or follow me. Or detain me. Or spy on me. Or make any contact with me whatsoever.

Re:Prove your innocence (1)

rust627 (1072296) | more than 3 years ago | (#35585142)

I think that a drunk driver swerving across the road and smashing in to my car is an infringement on my rights as well

Driving a car is not a right, it is a privilege that we earn by passing the licence test.
We agree to the terms of this privilege as part of our agreement to sit for the licence test.
the terms are quite simple, there are rules that must be followed to ensure that the most numbers of similarly privileged people can utilise the roads (and footpaths)at the same time.
From then on this privilege can be withdrawn from any person who does not follow these rules.
I personally don't mind being pulled over to have my breath tested, because i know that the fact that the cops do this stops some of the idiots from drinking and driving, and catches some more.
Unfortunately not all.

Public Information (5, Interesting)

malignant_minded (884324) | more than 3 years ago | (#35584672)

I don't read the newspaper but aren't these checkpoints announced in the paper ahead of time. Why is getting a reminder wrong. I don't drink but I don't necessarily want to get slowed down driving through these, in fact when I can see inspection sticker checks ahead I usually go out of my way to avoid them even with valid tags. I find it's best to avoid police at all costs.

Re:Public Information (2)

DanTheStone (1212500) | more than 3 years ago | (#35585032)

Similarly: Just because I'm driving the speed limit, I stay between the lines, my registration's up to date, and I'm not under the influence of any drugs, it doesn't mean I'm comfortable having a police car right behind me for 10 miles. I try to look for the first non-suspicious location to get out of the way.

Re:Public Information (2)

malignant_minded (884324) | more than 3 years ago | (#35585132)

Indeed I do the same thing. I find it is like this with anything. Just because I know how to configure a server doesn't mean I like having someone breathing down my neck watching what I am doing at all times. People need space or they get stressed out and make mistakes they wouldn't normally do because now they are more focussed on not doing something wrong.

Re:Public Information (4, Interesting)

CaptBubba (696284) | more than 3 years ago | (#35585250)

They HAVE to be publicized to be legal in the US. This is because part of the legal logic used to find checkpoints OK is they serve as a deterrent, which can't happen if they are kept secret.

And yes, it is a good idea to avoid the checkpoints like the plague. The vast majority of citations and arrests they make have absolutely nothing to do with DUI. At any particular moment there are likely dozens of violations on your car which you can be written up for. Even when I drove my brand new car off the lot it had equipment issues I could be ticketed for (the dealership put those plastic things around the license plates).

Just the thin edge of the wedge (1)

Coisiche (2000870) | more than 3 years ago | (#35584692)

People will always do stupid things and some people seem to think that it's useful to acquire something that enables their stupidity, but it's not really the job of state to deny them that privilege.

Anyway, things that are much more 'harmful to public safety' are legal and, it would seem, easily obtainable.

non-illegal use. (4, Insightful)

MickyTheIdiot (1032226) | more than 3 years ago | (#35584704)

Sorry, this doesn't fly for me. If an app is produced that is 100% for evading police I would say it wasn't appropriate, but believe it or not there are actually uses for this app that have nothing to do with evading a drunk driving charge. I don't drink at all and if I still lived in Indianapolis I would probably download it because I don't want to be involved with such checkpoints. I don't see how that is wrong.

Besides, how is a drunk person going to be able to use the app anyway. They'll break the phone first.

Re:non-illegal use. (0, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35584774)

Damn straight. Sure I could use my TimeStop app to produce Japanese porn, but what I really use it for is to avoid late payment fees on my iPhone service.

I have no point. I just want a TimeStop app.

Re:non-illegal use. (3, Insightful)

slim (1652) | more than 3 years ago | (#35584800)

Besides, how is a drunk person going to be able to use the app anyway. They'll break the phone first.

I see that your (perfectly valid) choice not to drink, leaves you ignorant of the basics of drunkenness.

After, say, 2 pints of beer, you can walk without swaying, talk without slurring, and certainly operate a phone. You'd be perfectly capable of driving a car, too, if you could guarantee there wouldn't be any surprises. It's when the car in front brakes suddenly, or there's a loose bit of tyre in your lane, etc. that you'd discover your reactions aren't as quick or accurate as you'd like them to be.

Almost everybody knows when they're hammered, and wouldn't dream of getting in a car. The danger nowadays is people driving after 2-4 beers, because they feel as if they're in control when they're not.

Unless you knew all that and were making a weak joke...

Re:non-illegal use. (1)

MickyTheIdiot (1032226) | more than 3 years ago | (#35584814)

yeah, it was a VERY weak joke.

Re:non-illegal use. (1)

slim (1652) | more than 3 years ago | (#35584874)

Fair enough. I have genuinely met people IRL who where convinced that half a bitter turned you from Dr Jekyll to Mr Hyde. It wouldn't surprise me if such people held local government positions in some places.

Re:non-illegal use. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35584934)

...but he does have a point. My experience with road hazard / speedtrap /red light camera apps is that they are spotty at best. OK for fixed speed cameras and regular traps but almost useless for ad hoc setups. These apps depend on users entering the data in an altruistic way: I've been caught or risked getting caught so I will enter the data, real time, and do a good turn for others. Doesn't work all that well for the, hopefully, much larger population of sober people driving every day.

How well is this going to work with the smaller population of DWI pilots out there?

OTOH, this app involves the equivalent of texting while driving. Combine DWI and DWTexting and what do we get?

Re:non-illegal use. (1)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 3 years ago | (#35585188)

Well alcohol inhibits inhibitory (GABAergic) neurons first - the problem is not so much one of reaction time (the classic yet false argument) or not being aware of your surroundings. You need far more than 0.08mg/dl for that. There is minimal reflex loss but in a vehicle it always comes down to speed and braking distance. 0.5 seconds (I exaggerate, you don't lose half a second from your reflex time with 2 beers in you) or so is not the end of the world at 30mph - that's not even a foot of distance traveled. If you drive with less than a foot of "spare" braking distance at that speed you don't deserve a license. The real argument is more one of "I don't care about the consequences" that will send you down a 35mph zone at 65mph, or around the curve slightly in the other lane, or too close to that car in front, or take that chance at the yellow traffic light. It's same mechanism that will make you talk a little louder, make the jokes a little funnier, and make you have that third drink that you know you're going to regret later - because the third will lead to a fourth and a fifth and...

As you keep drinking, of course, the regular neurons become depressed too, and you start losing coordination, reflexes, awareness, etc - what people typically associate with drunkenness.

And of course the effect of alcohol on any individual is highly subjective, depending on the person's genetics/ethnic background, chronic alcohol use, medication, weight, etc. But the law is the law and ours is not to reason why.

Re:non-illegal use. (1)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 3 years ago | (#35585220)

Meh - forgot to multiply by 30 - at 30mph you travel around 22 feet in half a second. My bad. But then again I think you lose 0.1 seconds or so off your reaction time. Much less than a car length.

Apple Says No. (1)

garcia (6573) | more than 3 years ago | (#35584708)

Remember the stupid story making the rounds yesterday about Apple sending a free iPad2 to the man who reported, "Wife said No."?

Yeah well Apple should send the elected officials, "Apple Says No."

Re:Apple Says No. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35585294)

Remember the stupid story making the rounds yesterday about Apple sending a free iPad2 to the man who reported, "Wife said No."?

Yeah well Apple should send the elected officials, "Apple Says No."

With the hopes that they'll get... a free DUI?

Is there a law against harming public safety? (4, Insightful)

MadJo (674225) | more than 3 years ago | (#35584752)

And in what capacity do these apps encourage excessive consumption of alcohol?

Re:Is there a law against harming public safety? (1)

gl4ss (559668) | more than 3 years ago | (#35584878)

anything can encourage that.
the problem with apples rules are that they really wouldn't allow even donald duck comics stories from seventies. would they allow britney spears? and why do they then allow a lot of music with lyrics that encourage drinking..

Police: Adapt and be more effective (4, Interesting)

Aqualung812 (959532) | more than 3 years ago | (#35584754)

I always get a chuckle from the police that freak out over apps like this.

Police: Learn to use the false sense of security that these apps give lawbreakers.

Run the same apps in your police car. Have the department buy you a smartphone if needed, they are much cheaper than some of your other police toys.
When a speedtrap app spots you, you'll get an alert since it thinks you're just another speeder. Move 1 mile against traffic and trap the speeders before they get the alert.
When a DUI checkout app spots your checkpoint, post a couple of police on the obvious alternate routes that DUI people would use to avoid the posted checkpoint.
Hell, save time and post the checkpoint yourself, and then give a closer inspection to all of the people that take the gravel road the GPS recommends to avoid the checkpoint that NO ONE ever drives on. Your % of DUI drivers should be higher in that group.

These things make it easier on the police, not harder, if they would adapt to it!

Re:Police: Adapt and be more effective (2)

slim (1652) | more than 3 years ago | (#35584816)

Yay arms races. They always benefit society.

Re:Police: Adapt and be more effective (2)

Aqualung812 (959532) | more than 3 years ago | (#35584872)

So, you think it is better to try to ban an app (only on non-jailbroken iPhones, as Androids and rooted devices can certainly still run these apps) and pretended it isn't something to worry about anymore than to use the app to your advantage?

I'm not suggesting an arms race. That would be more like trying to detect the users of the app with some tech, and then more tech to hide the users (see radar detector detector detectors).

I'm suggesting turning your adversary's weapon into your advantage. Very different from an arms race.

Re:Police: Adapt and be more effective (3, Insightful)

slim (1652) | more than 3 years ago | (#35584924)

I'm not making a point about whether or not it's right to suppress (not ban) the app, here.

I'm just pointing out that if the police start doing what you suggest, an arms race is pretty much inevitable.

- public use app to avoid DUI checks
- police reposition DUI checks to defeat the app
- public leave bad app reviews since app is now giving inaccurate results
- developers somehow improve accuracy of app
- GOTO 10

Re:Police: Adapt and be more effective (1)

jedidiah (1196) | more than 3 years ago | (#35585148)

...which is all moronic.

You don't need special purpose Constitution shredding roadblocks in order to catch the serious problem drinkers.

That's pretty much what the definition of a problem drinker is: Someone that gets caught on non-holidays.

All that's needed is good old-fashioned non-Gestapo police work.

Re:Police: Adapt and be more effective (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35584842)

Normally I lean towards the "keep the police out of my life" side of things, and anything that would allow me to avoid them is a plus, however I feel the need to agree with Aqualung812. Instead of complaining about the app, simply adapting to the presence of it should make for a higher catch, in less time, increasing the overall benifit to both society (less drunks on the road) and the law enforcement (4 cops checking the BAC of a bunch of people who haven't been drinking is just a waste of taxpayer cash).

No, I don't like the nanny-state concept, and I'm all for "let me live my life as I see fit, as long as I'm not hurting someone else", but I'd agree that this App seems like a good thing for the local police department.

Re:Police: Adapt and be more effective (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35584898)

You make at least three erroneous assumptions:
1) The police's budget has not been slashed repeatedly and they can actually afford these smartphones.
2) Bureaucracy permits the acquisition of these new-fangled non-sanctioned devices in under 10 years.
3) Declining standards of recruitment did not results in the police force consisting of technologically illiterate morons.

Re:Police: Adapt and be more effective (1)

gl4ss (559668) | more than 3 years ago | (#35584912)

most people driving under influence wouldn't care to check such an app, it's an extra bother.

there's this saying that "nobody would drive drunk if they were sober", a reference to drunks who use "i was drunk, it's not my fault" excuse when they get caught DUI.

but posting information where you saw cops.. well, that should be free to report. and if somebody doesn't like that kind of freedom, they can always move to syria.

Re:Police: Adapt and be more effective (1)

ktappe (747125) | more than 3 years ago | (#35584952)

[police], save time and post the checkpoint yourself, and then give a closer inspection to all of the people that take the gravel road the GPS recommends to avoid the checkpoint that NO ONE ever drives on. Your % of DUI drivers should be higher in that group.

These things make it easier on the police, not harder, if they would adapt to it!

Please mod parent up. It makes a lot of sense. Of course, that's why the police won't take any of the suggestions....

Re:Police: Adapt and be more effective (3, Interesting)

Splab (574204) | more than 3 years ago | (#35585164)

Interestingly, here in Denmark, police welcome these kinds of apps. They are not in the business of writing tickets, but they try to make roads safer; if an app alerts that there's a speed trap on some major highway, that means a full afternoon of *most* people driving like they should have been.

During high drinking seasons (Christmas and Easter for instance) they are always out in the newspapers warning people that they will be making more checks and focusing on this.

But of course, for this to make sense it requires the police to be in the business of preventing and not collecting.

Thank you Senators! (4, Insightful)

eNygma-x (1137037) | more than 3 years ago | (#35584786)

I just downloaded because you brought it to my attention... and I don't drink and drive.

Re:Thank you Senators! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35584930)

and I don't drink and drive.

But now we can :)

holycosters more strung out than romans were? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35584788)

much bigger wmd (including alchemists' potions/poisons etc..). there must be some math that goes with this? religion+fear..realestate+$!@#$(caste system)+weirdbreedingrituals/fear exponentiated/odd spawn+big guns+fear...evenweirderstuff+fear...rulingclass+fear...mediahypenosys+fear=wtfk?

it's going to take some ciphering? we can do it. we were trained/equipped (dna, meeting the need, perfect math, blah blah blah) for this stuff. play-dates...?

CEO is so full of shit - he could be a septic tank (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35584806)

"PhantomALERT is a 100% legal service. If they really understood what we are doing and aim to achieve they would actually support us." [...] "The idea is to deter drivers from drinking and driving. When drivers get alerts for DUI checkpoints on their smart phones and GPS, they will think twice about drinking and driving."

The idea is fine. The idea is what police departments, in testimonials on their own site, defend (note that I'm not counting the ones that state the service is legal, that's not a defense for the idea it's a statement of fact which they may very well be unhappy about);

âoeIf it is alerting the driver there is camera ahead and actually gets the driver to slow down⦠be aware of the speed limit and also be aware of the speed limit and also be aware not to run that red light⦠thatâ(TM)s a great idea.â New Mexico Police

http://www.phantomalert.com/Police-Testimonials/Police-Testimonials.html [phantomalert.com]

But what is the reality?
Their own promotion:

Tired of traffic tickets? The embarrassment, the time, the points, the frustration, the money?

Then you need PhantomALERT! For less than the cost of one speeding ticket, PhantomALERT gives you audible and visual warnings as you drive, alerting you to approaching traffic enforcement zones in plenty of time to adjust to changing traffic conditions. It does the work for you - NO MORE SURPRISES!

In other words, the idea is not to get people to avoid traffic tickets through driving according to posted speed limits, not drunk driving, etc. No, the idea is to have advance warning so that you can then 'adjust in time'. I.e. speed away! Go 140mph! But with our tech, you'll be able to 'adjust in time' to the 70mph posted, and avoid that "embarrassing, frustrating" ticket.

This is reflected in the *customer* testimonials;

I am a pharmaceutical sales rep and I drive all over DC, VA and MD all day long. I see speed traps and cameras everywhere and I have gotten my share of tickets.

Translation: I habitually speed.

I heard about your service on FOX 5 and I literally run to my computer to check out your website. I was sold immediately. I am sure your PhantomAlert will put a stop to any more tickets. I love the fact that I can now use my GPS to keep track of all the areas I need to slow down at.

Translation: I believe speed limits only apply to speed trap areas.
http://www.phantomalert.com/Customer-Testimonials/index.html [phantomalert.com]

The CEO is overflowing with shit if he believes that the DUI spots will cause drunkards to no longer be drunkards - all it will do is make those drunkards quickly calculate an alternate route over a B road so they won't get caught.

Before a bunch of people come whining about speed limits often being too low compared to the flow of traffic, speed traps being done on deserted roads in the middle of the night instead of in residential areas where speeding is far more dangerous, and DUI checks being a nuisance for people who haven't had a drop to drink but get pulled over... yes, I understand all that just perfectly. That doesn't change how such apps are used used as methods to evasion, rather than methods to change.

Re:CEO is so full of shit - he could be a septic t (2)

Vectormatic (1759674) | more than 3 years ago | (#35585300)

CEO is so full of shit - he could be a septic tank

for a second there, i thought you were using british slang for yank :P

Anybody who DUIs is an asshole... (3, Insightful)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 3 years ago | (#35584810)

And I really hope that they crash into something inanimate before they kill somebody else; but is anybody else pretty creeped out by the notion that secret checkpoints along public roads sounds more like an idea borrowed from a 60's era communist villain(Your papers, citizen...) than a good idea?

Just start talking in slightly more stilted language(try "Guilty of disseminating information harmful to public safety") and you'll be basically indistinguishable from the average translated kangaroo-court verdict...

Missing the point... (3, Insightful)

ultraexactzz (546422) | more than 3 years ago | (#35584826)

The entire point of DUI checkpoints is not to actually arrest the drunk drivers dumb enough to pull up. The point is to show that, if you do drive drunk, big angry men with guns will arrest you. This is why they announce the checkpoints beforehand - check your paper or local news website, you'll find an article announcing checkpoints a day or two before they go up. It's not investigative, it's (supposed to be) a deterrent.

Hell, Indiana had a series of billboards - nothing but the image of an orange traffic sign that said "Drunk Driving Checkpoint Ahead". Of course, the billboards were everywhere, and there was no actual checkpoint - but again, it's (supposed to be) a deterrent.

If police forces do not want people knowing about the checkpoints, they should not announce them publicly. If it's a matter of the public record, then they can't fault an app for aggregating that public record.

Re:Missing the point... (1)

OhPlz (168413) | more than 3 years ago | (#35585018)

If police forces do not want people knowing about the checkpoints, they should not announce them publicly. If it's a matter of the public record, then they can't fault an app for aggregating that public record.

I don't know about other states, but here in NH the courts require the police to give public notice x number of days in advance. The courts won't sign off on the checkpoint otherwise. So at least in my own state, there shouldn't be any argument over the app.

They post the results afterwards. The last few I've seen, they didn't arrest any drunks. What they're really doing is looking for registration and inspection stickers, lights out, and such. To me, these roadblocks are just a lazier way for the police to patrol.

I'd like to see a drunk use a phone... (1)

howardd21 (1001567) | more than 3 years ago | (#35584828)

If a guy can knock back a few and actually use a iPhone touch screen or a Blackberry keyboard, he is good to go behind the wheel!

Easier Solution (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35584836)

Wouldn't it just be easier for police to submit dozens of fake DUI checkpoints, essentially making the app useless?

Illegal in the UK? (3, Informative)

Tx (96709) | more than 3 years ago | (#35584848)

In the UK, warning others of a police speed trap e.g. by flashing your lights is a criminal offence [dailymail.co.uk] which will get you hauled into court and fined. So I wonder if these apps would even be legal in the UK (I don't have an iOS device, so I don't know if such things are on sale here).

On the other hand, satnavs with speed camera warnings seem to be legal, but in that case you can argue that the aim is to help you keep your speed down in dangerous areas, i.e. to avoid committing the offence in the first place, whereas with dodging DUI checks, the offence has already been committed, you're just trying to avoid being caught.

Re:Illegal in the UK? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35585024)

...the UK situation raises an obvious question. If it is a criminal offence for a driver to warn another driver of a speed trap, then surely it is a criminal offence for a sat nav to warn a driver of a speed trap? And in actual fact what got him hauled into court was a stubourn attitude towards a police woman.

Still, who says the UK or US are free countries?

Re:Illegal in the UK? (2)

slim (1652) | more than 3 years ago | (#35585060)

We don't have DUI checks here in the UK. I've experienced one once, while on holiday in the US. Basically they narrow the road down with cones, put up signs telling you to slow down, flag your car down as you pass, ask you if you've been drinking, and assuming you say no, and they haven't a reason to think you're lying, they send you on your way.

Of course, that's my experience as a white man in a hire car, with the English accent of a tourist.

So it's quite different from speed traps. I personally think speed limits should be absolute and speed cameras should be covert. We shouldn't feel that it's only necessary to stick to the speed limit when there are overt cameras around. If people knew that 40MPH means 40MPH, and you could get caught anywhere, maybe speed limits could be increased in many places.

It's so obvious (0, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35584880)

Yet more interference in the free market by congresscritters.

Notice their party? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35584886)

Had these been republicans we would have heard all kinds of howls about a police state. Since they're democrats and fairly well respected democrats at that it seems that people aren't interested in such hyperbole.

BS....politicians (3, Insightful)

hesaigo999ca (786966) | more than 3 years ago | (#35584890)

They know this will hurt their wallet, and are using this as the only means to pin point a good reason why not allow it.
First off, someone failing a D&D test would also not be smart enough to remember to use an iphone to evade cops.

And if someone realizes that this is to avoid speed traps, to warn people of possible traffic because of accidents, then become a bit more cunning in setting up your traps, once you nab 2 or 3, move to a next vantage point, and stop thinking that you can sit there for 3 hours to get your monthly quota of tickets. I have friends that are cops, but they never tell me where they will be, I get to find out when i speed past a trap, so if I have a website or app that tells me this, I will consult it to watch my speed, not to change course...

They should also ban the iPhone because you can open it up and stash some drugs inside if you remove the hard drive, and they would never know at the airport....they should ban the iphone for that....or wait they could ban politicians altogether, because you can hide drugs by sticking some up their *sses, so technically it is being used for something it was not designed to, so let's abolish all politicians because people can use them to carry drugs across borders.

Less donuts, more brains, please (2)

antivoid (751399) | more than 3 years ago | (#35584894)

Here I go with another reverse cowgirl theory. If cops want to catch drunk drivers, then get more cops or improve the ways to catch them or increase visible policing. Removing some app from an iPhone isn't going to stop people driving drunk. How ridiculous... If I was too drunk to drive, I'd be too drunk to use my phone to look up road blocks. If they're that worried build in some simple sobriety test, like solving some simple 5 * 7 + 13 math puzzle... Or decrease the supply of donuts to the police force.

An obvious free speech issue (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35584916)

These senators should be embarrassed for proposing something that is clearly a violation of free speech. Information about check points is as easy (and legal) to obtain as observing one in progress. Any attempt by the law to limit the dissemination of that factual information is a painfully obvious attempt to limit speech that these senators simply do not care for.

Re:An obvious free speech issue (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35585108)

And yet there are limits to free speech; such as interfering in official police business, Obstruction of Justice, etc. The courts have upheld these exceptions.

Freeking Republicans (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35584938)

I didn't RTFA, but we all know who's behind this, right? The party of control.

Pick a side! (0)

Ender_Wiggin (180793) | more than 3 years ago | (#35585036)

Apple can never win and please everybody, especially not the /. crowd. There have been dozens of "Apple rejects X" stories ever since the App Store launched in 2008. Apple rejects the anti-gay-marriage "Manhattan Declaration" app and gets protests and boycott threats from the Right for denying free speech. Apple approves the Exodus International app (run by a church that thinks homosexuality can be cured), and gets huge petitions (90,000 signers last I saw) and complaints from the Left.

Even the slashdotters are schizophrenic over this matter. "Apple should ban 'Baby Shaker,'" or "why did Apple remove iBoobs?" Can we please be consistent?

Re:Pick a side! (2)

jedidiah (1196) | more than 3 years ago | (#35585198)

> Apple can never win and please everybody

This is why it's a good idea to be not solely responsible for the content that appears on your platform.

You can implicitly allow this stuff by granting your end users liberty rather than being percieved as explicitly approving or censoring anything.

Re:Pick a side! (1)

Ender_Wiggin (180793) | more than 3 years ago | (#35585304)

That's also an untenable position. Considering the flack that google is getting for allowing malware on Android and the problems Nokia had with viruses on their phones, they have to have some sort of quality control for apps. Also, certain countries like Germany(?) may not allow iPhones and other devices if they don't have some sort of parental restrictions or block illegal/pirate apps

I don't drink, but I don't like waiting at checks (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35585112)

either. Apps like this help people like me avoid ridiculous delays as police check us for alcohol consumption. On certain roads, especially on holidays, the wait can be as much as 25-30 minutes.

Easy Fix for the App (2)

mangusman (778529) | more than 3 years ago | (#35585126)

There's a easy fix for this app (and all similar apps): Make the user *earn* the right to use the app by forcing them to prove they're not legally impaired. If they can't find Waldo, or some other such test, then they'll have to pull over or take their chances and hope they don't find the checkpoints.

Knee-jerk reaction? (-1)

Jawnn (445279) | more than 3 years ago | (#35585170)

Seriously?
By what twisted logic does the drunk driver deserve the right to use technology to continue his reckless and selfish behavior? Behavior which, by the way, puts others at significant and immediate risk. Fuck him and his iPhone.

Dude, where's my bacon? (2)

cshamis (854596) | more than 3 years ago | (#35585276)

Okay, I'm not condoning drunk driving. It's deadly dangerous full stop. However, the state has no right to prevent me from knowing the locations of DUI checkpoints, or patrol cars that are camping behind billboards, or in unlit parking lots, etc. I find it completely unacceptable that US Senators would suggest we begin employing secret police tactics like those used by the STASI in cold-war era East Germany. iPhone app, Android, whatever, that doesn't matter guys. Next they'll tell you can't text the location of a speed trap to somebody else, or talk on the phone about it. That's what this is really all about; restricting free communication of the citizens. The app is just the medium, it's not important. Please remember to vote these Senators out of office next election.
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