Want to read Slashdot from your mobile device? Point it at m.slashdot.org and keep reading!


Forgot your password?
Crime Government Handhelds Iphone Apple

Senators To Apple: Pull iPhone DUI-Check Alerts 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.'"
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Senators To Apple: Pull iPhone DUI-Check Alerts

Comments Filter:
  • by crow_t_robot ( 528562 ) on Wednesday March 23, 2011 @08:31AM (#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.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 23, 2011 @08:35AM (#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.

  • Illegal in the UK? (Score:4, Informative)

    by Tx ( 96709 ) on Wednesday March 23, 2011 @08:41AM (#35584848) Journal

    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.

  • by swb ( 14022 ) on Wednesday March 23, 2011 @09:56AM (#35585666)

    I'm told by a currently employed police officer that this is largely what motivates many suburban districts to perform speed traps. It has nothing to do with concern about speeding, but it enables them to stop and interview drivers essentially at random, fishing for other possible crimes.

    He also said that it was "widely believed" that vigorous traffic enforcement was a general deterrent to crime, the theory being that people involved in criminal behavior were sensitive to police presence and the risks associated with being stopped with incriminating items, flagged for parole violations/outstanding warrants, etc.

    To me it seems like a good excuse to run a police state.

  • by crow_t_robot ( 528562 ) on Wednesday March 23, 2011 @10:45AM (#35586236)
    You are exactly correct.

    It should be a requirement for every American citizen to read this book:
    http://www.amazon.com/Tactics-Criminal-Patrol-Discovery-Survival/dp/0935878122/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1300891075&sr=8-3 [amazon.com]
    The publisher won't sell this to civilians. You have to prove somehow that you are LEO-affiliated to obtain one but I received a copy from a friend who is currently a deputy sheriff and I read it cover-to-cover. IMPORTANT PART: THIS MANUAL DESCRIBES TO LAW ENFORCEMENT AN ARSENAL OF STOPPING, INTERVIEWING AND OBSERVATIONAL TACTICS TO GET YOU TO RELINQUISH YOUR RIGHTS AS AN AMERICAN CITIZEN TO ALLOW OFFICERS TO INSPECT YOUR PERSON AND VEHICLE. The techniques and methods described are AMAZINGLY effective and proven. It teaches them exactly how to let a suspect incriminate themselves and the exact legal boundaries for an officer to skirt while in your presence.

    If you have the chance, PLEASE read this book. It applies to you as a citizen regardless of whether you are a criminal or not.

"How many teamsters does it take to screw in a light bulb?" "FIFTEEN!! YOU GOT A PROBLEM WITH THAT?"