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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.'"
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Senators To Apple: Pull iPhone DUI-Check Alerts

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  • No boobs (Score:4, Insightful)

    by unixcrab ( 1080985 ) on Wednesday March 23, 2011 @08:13AM (#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...
  • Traffic Situation (Score:5, Insightful)

    by crow_t_robot ( 528562 ) on Wednesday March 23, 2011 @08:18AM (#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....
  • non-illegal use. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MickyTheIdiot ( 1032226 ) on Wednesday March 23, 2011 @08:21AM (#35584704) Homepage Journal

    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:No boobs (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 23, 2011 @08:22AM (#35584706)

    Sounds fairly typical for America.

  • Multitaksking (Score:4, Insightful)

    by stomv ( 80392 ) on Wednesday March 23, 2011 @08:22AM (#35584714) Homepage

    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.

  • by commodore6502 ( 1981532 ) on Wednesday March 23, 2011 @08:24AM (#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.

    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

  • by MadJo ( 674225 ) on Wednesday March 23, 2011 @08:27AM (#35584752) Homepage Journal

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

  • Re:typical garbage (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 23, 2011 @08:31AM (#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.

  • by eNygma-x ( 1137037 ) on Wednesday March 23, 2011 @08:32AM (#35584786)
    I just downloaded because you brought it to my attention... and I don't drink and drive.
  • by slim ( 1652 ) <john@hartnup . n et> on Wednesday March 23, 2011 @08:35AM (#35584800) Homepage

    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...

  • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus ( 1223518 ) on Wednesday March 23, 2011 @08:36AM (#35584810) Journal
    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...
  • by ultraexactzz ( 546422 ) on Wednesday March 23, 2011 @08:38AM (#35584826) Journal
    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.
  • BS....politicians (Score:4, Insightful)

    by hesaigo999ca ( 786966 ) on Wednesday March 23, 2011 @08:46AM (#35584890) Homepage Journal

    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.

  • by slim ( 1652 ) <john@hartnup . n et> on Wednesday March 23, 2011 @08:50AM (#35584924) Homepage

    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:No boobs (Score:2, Insightful)

    by unixcrab ( 1080985 ) on Wednesday March 23, 2011 @08:53AM (#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.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 23, 2011 @09:00AM (#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:Multitaksking (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Kokuyo ( 549451 ) on Wednesday March 23, 2011 @09:10AM (#35585120) Journal

    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:No boobs (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Vectormatic ( 1759674 ) on Wednesday March 23, 2011 @09:12AM (#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:Pick a side! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by 19thNervousBreakdown ( 768619 ) <davec-slashdot AT lepertheory DOT net> on Wednesday March 23, 2011 @09:23AM (#35585286) Homepage

    Yeah! Why can't everybody have the same opinion? Get it together, people!

  • by joebagodonuts ( 561066 ) <> on Wednesday March 23, 2011 @09:37AM (#35585436) Homepage Journal

    Then get the dangerous driver off the road. Sobriety checkpoints aren't the way to do that.

    In typical bureaucratic fashion, we get an approach that penalizes everyone [], without effectively addressing the real problem.

    Sens. Harry Reid (D-Nev.), Charles Schumer (D-NY), Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) and Tom Udall (D-NM) asked Scott Forstall, the head of Apple's iPhone software group, to pull an unspecified number of apps from the company's App Store. The senators also made similar requests of Google's CEO Eric Schmidt and Research in Motion's (RIM) co-CEOs, James Balsillie and Michael Lazaridis.....

    4 Democrats, who would've guessed? The party that thinks it can save us from ourselves. Look guys, you want to help? Get me some of that money like you gave to the Wall Street guys. How come no one wants to "save me from myself" in that fashion?

  • Re:Multitaksking (Score:5, Insightful)

    by cayenne8 ( 626475 ) on Wednesday March 23, 2011 @10:03AM (#35585722) Homepage Journal

    OTOH alcohol excise tax is a significant source of budget income, so maximizing ability to consume alcohol would be profitable for the budget...'re not far off the mark.

    Back in the 80's...LA was one of the last states (if not the last) to raise the drinking age from 18yrs to 21yrs after being extorted by the Feds. One reason they held out so long was that they figured they'd lose WAY more money in lost tax revenues from raising the drinking age than they would lose from Fed. Highway funds.

    Sadly, one of the big oil crunches hit about then, and the state was hurting for money and finally succumbed.

    The feds really need to get their nose the fsck OUT of national legislation like this...this should be up to the states.

  • Re:No boobs (Score:4, Insightful)

    by feepness ( 543479 ) on Wednesday March 23, 2011 @11:33AM (#35587014) Homepage

    Granted i dont conform to the weight-range for an american fully grown man (only 85 kilos)

    Actually according to this [] you are within 2% of the average weight, which is 86.6 kilos. Well within measurement error of your scale.

    I wonder what other misconceptions you have and/or are completely wrong about.

    Have you ever driven when tired? Frustrated? No one is ever 100%.

Space is to place as eternity is to time. -- Joseph Joubert