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Why Apple's DUI Checkpoint App Ban Is Stupid 228

Posted by timothy
from the tip-of-the-corporate-crony-iceberg dept.
hookskat writes "Reason.tv Editor in Chief Nick Gillespie reacts to Apple's decision to ban DUI Checkpoint Apps from the App Store, writing: 'Let me add something even more damning of this latest development in corporate cave-ins to legally protected free speech and I'm gonna bold it for emphasis: Some police departments actually supply the data used in such apps because they reduce the number of drunk drivers on the roads! Somehow, I'm thinking that Steve Jobs circa 1984...would have told U.S. senators sending threatening letters about computer-based info sharing to take a hike. Or at least to spend time on, I don't know, creating a freaking budget for the country rather than worrying about regulating something that helps reduce impaired driving.' Last month, after RIM caved on the same question, Reason.tv released this video on the subject of banning DUI checkpoint apps."
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Why Apple's DUI Checkpoint App Ban Is Stupid

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  • I agree.
    The end.
    • by node 3 (115640) on Thursday June 09, 2011 @06:35PM (#36394558)

      Except the story is based on a false premise. Apple doesn't ban apps that use the police department's data.

      • by Nerdfest (867930) on Thursday June 09, 2011 @06:47PM (#36394696)
        To be fair, the summary says that "Some police departments actually supply the data used". If it's not illegal, they should allow the app, or allow people to install things outside their store, but as usual, that just my opinion, and one of the big reasons I won't buy any of their products anymore. They've lowered their 'Evil' rating in my books a little today already by dropping the "can't charge a lower price somewhere else" portion of their anti-competitive subscription policy though. Sadly, I think that was because of legal ramifications and publishers looking harder at Android than anything else though.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by beelsebob (529313)

      Why this article is stupid...

      Because apple didn't ban apps that show DUI checkpoints... they banned ones that weren't sourced from official sources like the police department.

      • by hedwards (940851)

        Which strikes me as a relatively reasonable compromise. I'm not sure how much better people were expecting. The iOS is a walled garden, and if you want to use the devices without jailbreaking them, then you're going to have to live with Apple's rules.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Nerdfest (867930)
          Of course the classic "Pray I don't alter it again" line comes to mind when talking about Apple's rules at times.
        • by erroneus (253617)

          Sometimes people have to be told the same thing in hundreds of different ways until one way makes sense and finally drives the point home. It's kind of like the general care people in the US have about freedoms. They don't care about losing freedoms they don't use that much. Right to own a gun? Most don't care. Speech? Most don't have anything to say. Freedom to assemble? Yeah, same thing. Freedom of travel? Well, that's a sticking point for most of us, but we don't see it as infringing on that ri

        • by PopeRatzo (965947) * on Thursday June 09, 2011 @08:47PM (#36395684) Homepage Journal

          then you're going to have to live with Apple's rules.

          And there you have it.

          There was a time when "the customer" was "always right" and companies worked hard to give them what they wanted.

          Now, the company tells the consumer what he wants, and then rents it to him. But only if he follows the company's rules.

          I guess the question finally comes down to "do you really want to live inside a walled garden". For a lot of people, the answer is a resounding "Yes!"

          The most ironic part of it all is that the people who choose to live inside the walled garden also somehow believe it makes them superior. But like the newborn that is kept in a sterile environment, away from any germ or environmental stress will lose all resistance and become weak, the people who are happily consuming canned content in the walled garden become weak in other ways.

          Apple computers used to be a top choice for creative, adventurous people. Apple computers were used to make things. Now, they're increasingly used to consume things.

          You have to decide.

      • it is also a stupid article (not that I read it or anything) because from Apple's perspective, its not a bad idea to make friends with US Senators. Apple would have been ill advised to ignore the request. Why? Because a pissed off US Senator is far more of a pain in the ass than a very specialized phone app developer. How many developers and apps are we talking about? Because those 4 Senators know 96 other Senators personally, not to mention a lot of other VIPs. How many Senators do the developers and thos

  • by Skidborg (1585365) on Thursday June 09, 2011 @06:26PM (#36394446)

    Does it really decrease the total number on the road, or only the total number counted by police checkpoints?

    Also that old line on causation. You know the one.

  • by TheCouchPotatoFamine (628797) on Thursday June 09, 2011 @06:27PM (#36394452)
    This is horrendously bad for apple, cause if I think it's not cool, then I stop recommending it. I stop recommending it, they don't get sold. It took a lot of nerds to make apple get where it is today, IMSHO.
    • Re:PR-Wise, (Score:5, Insightful)

      by MoonBuggy (611105) on Thursday June 09, 2011 @06:33PM (#36394532) Journal

      On the other hand, it'd be hard to script a better demonstration of why closed ecosystems, particularly those controlled by an easily-pressured gatekeeper, are bad for consumers.

    • Re:PR-Wise, (Score:5, Insightful)

      by somersault (912633) on Thursday June 09, 2011 @06:40PM (#36394624) Homepage Journal

      Yeah, iMacs and iPods were made cool by nerds *facepalm*

      If nerds had that much sway, the majority of people would be running Linux on the desktop, with all popular and important commercial apps and games available for it. And there would be no copyright or patents. And they'd be too busy with their girlfriends to use computers much of the time.

      • by LocalH (28506)

        If it weren't for the Apple I and II and classic Macs, there would be no Apple today. It was the classic era where nerds gave Apple enough success to get to where they are today.

        • If it weren't for the Apple I and II and classic Macs, there would be no Apple today. It was the classic era where nerds gave Apple enough success to get to where they are today.

          If things were different they wouldn't be the same. The same could be said for many, many other companies.

      • by wrook (134116)

        If nerds had that much sway, the majority of people would be running Linux on the desktop, with all popular and important commercial apps and games available for it.

        No offense, but Linux nerds don't want the popular commercial apps and games. They want the Gimp and nethack. Although free software desktops are increasingly being used by people who don't give two shits about free software, it has historically been designed for and by people who do. And those of us who give a shit about free software are by and large happy with what we've got (although we can make it better).

        Not that I disagree with you on the main point. Nerds didn't make Apple successful. If it had

    • Geeks have essentially zero influence on Apple's sales. Smaller than any arbitrarily-chosen epsilon. If you actually believe what you posted, I feel sad for you.

      • by Caerdwyn (829058)

        You've just identified the origin of Apple-haters: geeks who think they should be on a pedestal, but aren't.

        • by jedidiah (1196)

          You're projecting.

          We're "geeks". We don't need to be on a pedestal. However, we will judge companies and people on their merits and will freely offer opinions of same regardless of how "socially inappropriate" it might seem.

    • by Duradin (1261418)

      Less space than a nomad. No wireless. Lame.

      Ya.... I don't think Apple is too concerned about /.ers affecting sales.

      • by jedidiah (1196)

        Except they addressed those concerns. Their product wasn't successful until they did.

        You think you're witty but that's really a self-nuke.

        • Because iPods weren't successful until the iPod Touch!

          Oh, wait, they were. Apple was storming the MP3 player market by the third generation of iPods, at which point they went up to 30GB.
    • Worse PR than being branded a friend to drunk drivers? I think not.

  • I think the reason RIM caved so quickly is users can easily install apps outside of their 'App World' application.
  • "because they reduce the number of drunk drivers". Really? Where's the proof of this? And it better not be stats from DUI arrests at the checkpoints because well....you're telling them where you are, they go a different way. Not that I agree or disagree with Apple's decision but if you're gonna make such a "bold" statement you better be able to back it up Nicky G.
  • The rules specifically apply to checkpoint information that is NOT published by law enforcement agencies.

    Section 22.8 of the updated App Store Review Guidelines reads:
    "Apps which contain DUI checkpoints that are not published by law enforcement agencies, or encourage and enable drunk driving, will be rejected."

    Some law enforcement agencies publish where DUI checkpoints will be located ahead of time, and these notices have been exempted from the ban.

    Source [macrumors.com]

    • The rules specifically apply to checkpoint information that is NOT published by law enforcement agencies.

      Out of curiosity, at what point does the existence of the checkpoint itself count as "published by law enforcement?" At the very least it would be at the point where the first ticket was written, since the ticket is a public record and it contains the address closest to the infraction. Right?

      What bothers me about this is that Apple has, essentially, banned an app for publishing a certain class of facts

  • by jo_ham (604554) <joham999&gmail,com> on Thursday June 09, 2011 @06:38PM (#36394600)

    What the hell passes for "facts" these days?

    Apple has *not* banned DUI checkpoint apps. Not even one. All of the checkpoint apps that were up on the store before today are still there.

    What they have done is changed their ToS to be explicit about the listing of non-public information, which DUI checkpoints are *not included in* since the police advertise them.

    How the fuck this ever (and in the previous article) got twisted into "Apple bans DUI checkpoint apps" is beyond me, other than some serious axe-grinding Apple haters are just making stuff up and posting it as news. Maybe the correction was sent to them via text message from Android, but it somehow got sent to a guy who cleans windows in Atlanta instead.

    • by MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) on Thursday June 09, 2011 @07:13PM (#36394960)

      How the fuck this ever (and in the previous article) got twisted into "Apple bans DUI checkpoint apps" is beyond me, other than some serious axe-grinding Apple haters are just making stuff up and posting it as news.

      I used to think that but now I think Slashdot has noticed that stories about Android and iPhone generate a lot of ad-serving content. People still fall for this shit.

  • that Nick Gillespie doesn't actually read what he quotes?

  • About the 1984 Steve Jobs part, As we know now that giant screen in the famous Macintosh commercial was not a prop, but rather a real deal space time communicator, where 1984 Steve received orders from 2016 Steve. Also the board removed Steve from his duties shortly thereafter for no other reason than "that communicator thing is really creeping me out"

  • Hypothetical (Score:3, Insightful)

    by screwzloos (1942336) on Thursday June 09, 2011 @06:44PM (#36394676)
    I'm at a bar, I've had a couple drinks, but nothing excessive. It's not late and I can safely get myself home as I have done in the past, but there's a plausible chance I'd get busted for a DUI if I got stopped on the way home. I'm a little buzzed and 0.001% over is all it takes. I check my new iPhone app and lo and behold, there's a checkpoint on the only highway between the bar and my house. I don't want to spend the night in jail, so I take a cab instead.

    That app would save me money and jail time, save my district a bunch of paperwork, and make the roads safer.

    The other side of the argument is that people will know where the checkpoint is and try to drive around it. If anything, this being open should encourage better checkpoint planning. There are plenty of high traffic bottlenecks in every state, so that's a poor excuse. Worst case scenario is the appropriate side roads would need increased patrols.
    • Re: (Score:2, Troll)

      by jo_ham (604554)

      And the app will still be on the store. Apple has not banned DUI checkpoint apps, even hypothetical ones.

    • Re:Hypothetical (Score:5, Insightful)

      by DerekLyons (302214) <fairwater@gmail. c o m> on Thursday June 09, 2011 @07:11PM (#36394926) Homepage

      there's a plausible chance I'd get busted for a DUI if I got stopped on the way home

      That app would save me money and jail time, save my district a bunch of paperwork, and make the roads safer.

      How does giving you the tools to drive impaired and avoid being caught doing so make the roads safer? Seriously, what kind of doublethink does it take to think that "I'm too buzzed to risk a field sobriety test, but I'm still a safe driver"* is a reasonable statement?.*
       

      Worst case scenario is the appropriate side roads would need increased patrols.

      No. The worst case scenario is an impaired driver that might have been caught, isn't - and plows into something or someone.
       
      *No, blowing 0.001% isn't all it takes.
       
      ** No, "I think I'm a safe driver, therefore I am" isn't a reasonable answer. Study after study has shown people don't realize how impaired they are. Nor is "I've played Russian Roulette with other people's lives many times and not had a problem".

      • If you blow 0.79, the cop may dream up all sorts of things to write you up for - but DUI won't be one of them. If you blow 0.80, he can and probably will. That's the situation we're talking about here - the incredibly arbitrary nature of BAC standards.

        A better standard would be a really good field sobriety test based on reaction times administered in front of a dash camera.
        • A better standard would be a really good field sobriety test based on reaction times administered in front of a dash camera.

          That is too slow for testing a large number of vehicles at a checkpoint. By making a slow procedure, you can only test a smaller number of cars travelling past that point - meaning you may end up letting someone who would blow 0.90 sail right past without being tested at all. All for the sake of letting some people get lucky for being just under the limit.

          I am not quite sure why it is such a problem anyway. How is a 0.01 lower BAC any different to being 0.01 seconds faster in a reaction time test. At some p

    • Re:Hypothetical (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Gadget_Guy (627405) * on Thursday June 09, 2011 @07:38PM (#36395196)

      So if you check your app and you find that there isn't a checkpoint on the only highway between the bar and your house, does that mean you would happily drive home drunk and possibly cause an accident? That doesn't sound like it made the roads safer at all!

      However, if you did not know if there was a checkpoint set up, then you may just decide not to risk it and take a cab anyway. Thus by not having the facts the road becomes safer.

      • I understand the point you're trying to make, but:
        1: This is a hypothetical situation
        2: The OP's point still stands
        3: If you compare the case of the app showing a "safe" drive home, and the case of not having an app at all, I assume the outcome would usually be the same and that he would drive home intoxicated. (Maybe some people would not drive home due to the uncertainty, but I don't think that would be the majority)
        • The OP's point still stands

          No, it does not. The hypothetical situation only works if there is only one route to get home. The type of person who would drive home only when an app said the cops were not doing checks would not hesitate to choose an alternate route. How many times do you only have one road to get home?

          And what could be worse for a drunk driver than to choose an unfamiliar route that might consist of badly lit back streets. This is an accident waiting to happen.

          If you compare the case of the app showing a "safe" drive home, and the case of not having an app at all, I assume the outcome would usually be the same and that he would drive home intoxicated.

          Except he would not get home if he got stopped at a checkpoi

    • Re:Hypothetical (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Palshife (60519) on Thursday June 09, 2011 @08:48PM (#36395692) Homepage

      Wow. I want an app that tells me where you're driving so I can avoid you.

    • I'm at a bar, I've had a couple drinks, but nothing excessive. It's not late and I can safely get myself home as I have done in the past, but there's a plausible chance I'd get busted for a DUI if I got stopped on the way home. I'm a little buzzed and 0.001% over is all it takes. I check my new iPhone app and lo and behold, there's a checkpoint on the only highway between the bar and my house. I don't want to spend the night in jail, so I take a cab instead.

      That app would save me money and jail time, save my district a bunch of paperwork, and make the roads safer.

      The other side of the argument is that people will know where the checkpoint is and try to drive around it. If anything, this being open should encourage better checkpoint planning. There are plenty of high traffic bottlenecks in every state, so that's a poor excuse. Worst case scenario is the appropriate side roads would need increased patrols.

      Plan to stop drinking X hours before leaving, or wait X hours longer, then leave. Is it that fucking hard? If you're not capable of thinking ahead that much, and you don't have a sober friend along to drive you - wait, clearly you wouldn't due to aforementioned lack of planning - stay off my god damned roads, or I hope you get caught. Eat a plate of chicken wings and order some soda you creeps, there is no excuse.

      Is this an episode of the Simpsons or some shit? "Hey, you look like you're trying to sober

      • Holy fucking shit people. Half a dozen replies to this guy and more than half of you are READING COMPREHENSION FAIL. Read the post again. Here, I'll bold the part you missed:

        I don't want to spend the night in jail, so I take a cab instead.

        I think you owe screwzloos an apology.

    • by mjwx (966435)

      I'm a little buzzed and 0.001% over is all it takes.

      And they call Oz a police state. Here it's 0.05% unless you're a P2 probationary driver (Green P plates) where it's 0.02% or 0.00% for P1 probationary (Red P plates) and Learner (L plates) drivers.

      P1 probationary is only for the first six months. It's good as it lets other motorists know you are a really green driver. Of course this does not stop wankers from cutting you off.

      • by psiclops (1011105)

        He means 0.001% over the legal limit (so in your case at 0.051%)

        i'm pretty sure the limit in the U.S. is higher than ours (depending on state)

  • Why does a libertarian like Nick Gillespie want to force a market participant like Apple to carry certain types of apps in its App Store? Last time I checked, the First Amendment was about the government abridging your right to free speech.

    If people want DUI checkpoint apps, they can switch to Android or some other phone platform that allows them to run the types of app they want. The market will reward or punish Apple accordingly. Isn't that how it's supposed to work?

    • In ideal world, it is supposed to work this way but anyone thinking that our markets are truly free is naive. In the days of heavy emphasis on IP protection enforcement, much of the free market has disappeared. Sure, someone can come up with a device as an alternative to Apple but they risk the wrath of Apple suing for IP rights violation. Don't tell me that is a free market! Look at the law suits that happen to Google over Android. The only true way to vote with your wallet is to say, "The hell with s
    • by Duradin (1261418)

      It's for FREEEDOMMMM!!! In the name of freedom, we must force every store to carry everything, whether they want to or not, otherwise they are taking away our freedom.

      • That's right. I should be able to march into any Victoria's Secret and purchase a set of snow tires for my refrigerator!

      • by macshit (157376)
        "I can handle it man, it was only a few drinks, no prob, I'm a great driver, I haven't killed anyone yet haha."
    • by iSzabo (1392353)

      This is true; and we can and do vote with our wallets. Griping is just fair warning.

  • My mobile phone can already share location information via the browser. dart.org's mobile site shows you the closest bus stops, so creating a similar site that shows the closest dui checkpoints is certainly possible ... what would apple do then? ban the site from its browser?
  • Say, somebody DUI comes towards you... Can you shoot such person in self defence?

  • R.Y.O.F.A.

  • Saying it's "stupid" somehow makes your argument look lame, kind of like calling that someone you don't like a "big poopy head".

    Flat out, it's police-state anti-democracy in action. Apple caved to political pressure placed upon it by sleazy politicians pandering to police organizations/unions.

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