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Apple Bans DUI Checkpoint Apps 601

An anonymous reader writes "In late March, four US senators banded together and wrote a letter to Apple asking that they remove apps that alert users as to the whereabouts of DUI checkpoints. Now, Apple has revised its app store guidelines to ban those type of 'illegal' apps."
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Apple Bans DUI Checkpoint Apps

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  • Makes sense (Score:5, Funny)

    by Combatso ( 1793216 ) on Thursday June 09, 2011 @11:26AM (#36388554)
    Just in time for me to release my new "lemonade stand app" it tells you if you are approaching a lemonade stand, and to slow down just in case you are thirsty, or take a different route if you don't like lemonade at all.
    • don't forget to let users upload the locations of new lemonade stands from the client. Wouldn't want anyone to miss out on such a tasty beverage.
    • Don't worry it wont be long before you are branded a pedo since lemonade stands are mostly ran by little girls and boys. Won't someone think about the lemon squeezing children?

      • damnit... ok, new idea... stop driving drunk
        • Re:Makes sense (Score:4, Insightful)

          by NinetyOneDegrees ( 2237352 ) on Thursday June 09, 2011 @12:02PM (#36389220)
          Thing is, a DUI test is an annoyance. If you're driving somewhere you want to get there without being stopped and having to prove your innocence.

          I'm sure this is used by a lot of non-drink-drivers for this reason.
        • by Hatta ( 162192 )

          damnit... ok, new idea... get a fucking warrant.

      • So what you are seeking is a 'lemonade stand finder' app? I'm sure that can be easily made.
      • Don't worry it wont be long before you are branded a pedo since lemonade stands are mostly ran by little girls and boys. Won't someone think about the lemon squeezing children?

        Bah. Those lazy little bastards don't squeeze lemons any more. They just buy a container of crappy instant lemonade and sell that by the glass.

    • by gr8_phk ( 621180 )
      And just in case, make your lemonade stand app a web app so it doesn't require passing through a phone app store for people to use it.
  • No more apples (Score:4, Interesting)

    by dynamic_cast ( 250615 ) on Thursday June 09, 2011 @11:28AM (#36388590) Homepage

    So glad I ditched apple and went back to pc/android a couple of years ago when this kind of crap started.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by kieran ( 20691 )

      While I'm not a big fan of app censorship generally, I don't see the objection to having Apple, Google etc block apps which have no purpose other than letting people drink-drive.

      • Re:No more apples (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Thunderstruck ( 210399 ) on Thursday June 09, 2011 @12:19PM (#36389496)

        How do you feel about apps which help innocent people to avoid being questioned about their activities by a man with a gun?

      • Re:No more apples (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Aqualung812 ( 959532 ) on Thursday June 09, 2011 @12:20PM (#36389500)

        block apps which have no purpose other than letting people drink-drive.

        I don't drink & drive, and I also don't enjoy waiting in a long line of cars going through a DUI checkpoint.
        Like all technology, there can be legal and illegal uses, or in this case, moral and immoral uses. Information about DUI checkpoints is required to be public.

      • Re:No more apples (Score:5, Insightful)

        by flaming error ( 1041742 ) on Thursday June 09, 2011 @12:28PM (#36389642) Journal

        > apps which have no purpose other than letting
        > people drink-drive

        That these checkpoints are called "DUI checkpoints" in no way suggests that:
        1) Government checkpoints are authorized by the Constitution
        2) There is no reason for non-drunks to avoid them
        3) That banning products in high demand will do anything but create a black market for them.

        If you're not a fan of censorship generally, I'd expect you to be a little more skeptical and analytical, a little less "I don't care if the authorities grope everybody's underpants because I've got nothing to hide".

        • by s73v3r ( 963317 )

          Government checkpoints are authorized by the Constitution

          Neither is letting you use public roads without conditions. As part of the conditions for driving your vehicle on public roads, you agree to submit to these checkpoints.

          • Re:No more apples (Score:5, Informative)

            by sconeu ( 64226 ) on Thursday June 09, 2011 @12:51PM (#36389996) Homepage Journal

            Nice try dude.

            The Tenth specifically states that the gov can't do stuff like this if it's not in the constitution.

            The Ninth says that just because they didn't say "you can use public roads without conditions", you still can do so.

            The Fourteenth (like it or hate it) extended these restrictions to the States as well.

  • by sonnejw0 ( 1114901 ) on Thursday June 09, 2011 @11:28AM (#36388592)
    ... is merely to ban apps that contain checkpoint information that is not publicly available. A Checkpoint app that uses data from public police information is still acceptable, and nearly every police department in the nation not only publishes their checkpoint dates and locations, but ADVERTISES THEM on TV and the local news.

    Everybody wants so much drama where there actually isn't any. It's annoying.
    • by Kenja ( 541830 ) on Thursday June 09, 2011 @11:31AM (#36388644)
      If you can look at something, and tell others about its existence, it is by definition public information.
      • by TheGratefulNet ( 143330 ) on Thursday June 09, 2011 @11:46AM (#36388934)

        obstruction of justice. that's what they'll get you on.

        there used to be a custom on the road: when you saw a speed trap, you blinked your lights to the oncoming traffic to warn them. this, in many states, can you get cited ;(

        citizens having power SCARES those in charge. (story at 11)

        • by kimvette ( 919543 ) on Thursday June 09, 2011 @12:06PM (#36389296) Homepage Journal

          there used to be a custom on the road: when you saw a speed trap, you blinked your lights to the oncoming traffic to warn them. this, in many states, can you get cited ;(

          Question: where speeding is (in most cases) not criminal, and the purported goal of speed traps is for safety, not revenue collection, drivers flashing their headlamps achieves the oft-stated goal: getting drivers to slow down. Why should they care if people slow down a couple thousand feet before the speed trap? You would think that if the real purpose of speed traps is to increase safety (study after study after study have consistently demonstrated that speeding in and of itself is not dangerous) then they would encourage ANY means to get drivers to slow down. Calling it obstruction of justice is idiotic because it shows that all they care about is revenue.

          People on the road today are idiots - especially here in Massachusetts (there is a reason the word Masshole exists): yield signs mean "cut the other person off," stop signs mean "proceed without stopping or slowing and without checking for traffic," red lights mean "Punch it! You have a three-second grace period" and someone turning on their turn indicators (blinkers in New England nomenclature) is an indication that you are to speed up and not let the person change lanes so that they can't get to their exit. Also, we have our highways backwards: often the leftmost lane is the "drive 55mph in the 60mph|65mph zone and read a book", the middle lane is the one that you never travel in but the one where you cut off everyone who thinks it's the travel lane, and the right lane is the passing lane - and if the right lane is taken, then the breakdown lane becomes the passing lane.

          On top of that people have no sense of custom: I've had one batshit insane bitch cuss me out - she signaled to change lanes in front of me, so I quickly flashed my highs twice; this historically means "go ahead you're clear." She didn't change lanes but slowed down. Whatever. So a little further she puts her turn indicator on again so again I flashed my highs and WAVED signaling "go ahead." She didn't change lanes. Well the road narrowed so she pulled behind me, and then coming up to a traffic light she pulls up next to me and starts cussing me out. I told her that I was signaling for her to go ahead and change lanes, and even slowed down to give her more room, and she didn't take it. She continued to cuss me out. I just called her a moron and continued on my way when the light turned green. There are customs on the road - flashing your lights to signal to someone (truckers ESPECIALLY follow this - or used to) to go ahead and pull in front of you; the flashing indicates "you're clear" and when you move over, you signal "thanks" by flashing rear fogs or brake lights (many truck drivers do that to this day, but many do not any more) once you're in your lane. Flashing your highs at oncoming traffic in daylight means "speed trap ahead" - and flashing when you are behind someone in the passing lane (in MA, the slow-down-to-5-10mph-under-the-limit-and-read-a-book-or-eat-your-sub-or-watch-a-DVD-lane) means "please move over I'd like to pass."

          When I travel outside of New England, it's refreshing to see that many people recognize and follow rights of way, light signal customs, and all of that.

          Anyway, back to the topic: if people signaling gets people to travel "more safely" (ignoring studies on "speeding" - I'm talking about the propaganda about why there are artificially low speed limits and the according speed traps) then why should police departments complain about people slowing down? It just proves that it's about revenue and power, not safety at all.


      • Canary it.

        "Moving, Moving, Moving, STOPPED for no reason."

        How Foursquare? "I really like Mile 37 on the highway. You GOTTA see the AWESOME tree!"

    • You mean seeing that there is a check being done somewhere somehow means that it isn't "publicly available"? Where else would this app get its info if it wasn't from public records, or people reporting checks in? Both of which should be legal.

    • Actually, if I remember correctly, they are REQUIRED to advertise them. I believe there was a court ruling that said DUI checkpoints were only Constitutional if they were well advertised in advance.
      • There's an exemption in the Apple Store policy about DUI checkpoints that are published by the authorities.

      • REQUIRED, huh? That may be, but who could and would enforce that?

        Numerous SCOTUS rulings indicate the Constitution can be safely ignored by the Government. Worse thing that happens is SCOTUS says Congress needs to make the infringing activity legal, which they promptly do.

      • by Nidi62 ( 1525137 )
        But it doesn't say where they have to advertise it. For all we know, it could be on display in the bottom of a locked filing cabinet stuck in a disused lavatory with a sign on the door saying 'Beware of the Leopard', and they would still be in compliance of the law.
  • by NeutronCowboy ( 896098 ) on Thursday June 09, 2011 @11:29AM (#36388594)

    As far as I can tell, the Senators decided to write Apple precisely because there was nothing illegal about those apps. Reporting on police activity isn't illegal - yet, I guess. I'm not entirely surprised that those apps specifically were banned from the app store, because Apple has an interest in keeping legislators off its back and keep up the image of offering a wholesome version of the Internet. At the same time, I'm curious what other apps would fall under this, or if Apple is going to keep this little bit of TOS around only to remove apps that generate too much bad publicity. My guess is it's going to be the latter.

  • This seems a "wag the dog" or some sort of odd complaint that came up.
    Every time checkpoints went up, police told the media, who told the public.
    Why this is a big deal, I dont know.
    I do know that drunk driving IS a huge problem and these checkpoints do save a lot of lives.
    I also know that punishment for DUIs are pretty lax, so if they want to stop them, make it tougher.
    • Re:Hypocritical (Score:4, Insightful)

      by CrimsonAvenger ( 580665 ) on Thursday June 09, 2011 @11:41AM (#36388814)

      I do know that drunk driving IS a huge problem and these checkpoints do save a lot of lives.


      I agree drunk driving is a bad thing. But frankly, I've never seen any real evidence it's as endemic as you suggest. I've been driving for almost 40 years, and I can only recall seeing ONE (1) guy who was almost certainly drunk while driving (he was going east on the westbound half of a divided highway in the middle of the night).

      It's virtually certain that there were other drivers who'd had a drink or three near me on the road in that time, but none that were obvious enough to pick out from the usual fraction of sucky drivers you find everywhere.

      • Wow, you should probably look into the ride-along program of your local emergency responders - PD/Fire/EMS.
        • by swb ( 14022 )

          Does seeing a high concentration of DUIs being with a first responder actually increase their overall statistical frequency, or does it merely make it feel like there are a lot of them?

      • I also agree; been driving 30+ years and this 'drunk driving problem' is not any kind of major problem that I've seen.

        so much is overblown because its a popular way to raise more power for those in charge and to look like you're tough on 'crime'.

        a checkpoint to catch a percent of a percent? isn't that a baby and bathwater situation? sure sounds like one to me. lets suspect everyone who crosses this 'checkpoint' and have them be assumed guilty unless they prove TO US that they're not.

        fully turning the ame

        • by jhoegl ( 638955 )
          Nice, so if you get hit by a drunk driver, will you then blame the "gubbernment" for not doing its job, thus being overpaid and lazy?

          The actual reason Drunk driving is a problem is the random deaths on the roads caused by people driving drunk.
          If you live out in the boonies and dont see many cars, then of course you wont notice any.
          What you should do is go to a bar, wait till closing and follow a few cars home.

          Live in the city? You should have notcied some by now, but if you havent. Drive around betwee
      • that's the thing about driving, it takes TWO people to mess up usually. It's a stable system, which is what I finally understood to be the reason we're not all dead. It's pretty damned amazing isn't it? That we get into these things and impart so many newtons of force all bent on a person with, most likely, only a finger on the device that could with an idle flick cause all that energy to release at once, always only a few seconds away.

        Drunk Drivers cause the system to only require ONE person to mess up.
      • Well, that is your anecdote. My anecdote is that I personally know three people who have been killed by drunk drivers. And I know from watching the news and reading the paper that in my relatively small metro area, a drunk person kills someone almost every single day. Alcohol was a factor in 37% of fatalities in my state, and my state is only slightly above the average. So, by ending drunk driving we could save 15,000 lives a year in the U.S. That seems like a significant issue.
    • Maybe the checkpoints helped to reduce drunk driving, but the number of accidents caused by people looking for checkpoints on their iphones while driving went up.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 09, 2011 @11:30AM (#36388616)

    This is what freedom is all about.

    Choose Android.

    Choose Freedom.

    Fuck the police.

  • by RichMan ( 8097 ) on Thursday June 09, 2011 @11:31AM (#36388638)

    The police definitly need more hackers.

    Lets put the check on route #1. Ok now start the application that reports check points on routes #2, #3, #4. Suddenly you have lots of people that are directed into the actual check point. Especially people that were actually looking to avoid the check point and are the actual ones you want to check.

    • Any politician caught up in such a thing would have a terrible campaign next time around however as people suggest that they intentionally LIED to the population to force them into a certain area. Even outside of the obvious deceitfulness there, it also could have implications for negatively affecting the traffic.

      Probably not illegal, but such a thing could quickly turn into a PR nightmare.

      • would it ? it seems kinda hypocritical to vote for laws that institute checkpoints, and then to whine against a smart use of technology to make them more efficient ?

    • or the police could, you know... f* off and only stop people who are suspected of commiting a crime, instead assuming we are all drunk, or criminals all the time...
    • by swm ( 171547 ) *

      They do something like this in Florida.
      They put a sign up on one of the interstates saying "Drug Checkpoint Ahead".
      There is no checkpoint, and if there was one, it would probably be unconstitutional.
      But they don't need one.
      They just pull over everyone who suddenly pulls a U-turn across the median
      (which is a genuine traffic violation).

  • by mrthoughtful ( 466814 ) on Thursday June 09, 2011 @11:31AM (#36388640) Journal

    Erm. IANAL, but isn't liberty an important part of the American cultural and political identity?
    Do AAPL have a leg to stand on here?

    • "Erm. IANAL, but isn't liberty an important part of the American cultural and political identity?"

      Allegedly, it was at one point. In the imperial era, nicht soviel.

    • by jo_ham ( 604554 ) <> on Thursday June 09, 2011 @11:41AM (#36388808)

      I run a store. I don't want to sell beans in my store. I remove all beans from my store.

      Do I have a legal leg to stand on here?

      • by Duradin ( 1261418 ) on Thursday June 09, 2011 @11:42AM (#36388860)

        According to some at /., no. In the name of freedom you must be forced to sell any and all beans, whether you want to or not.

      • That's not quite a good metaphor. It'd be more like this:

        I run a store. I don't want to sell beans in my store. I remove all beans from my store. I also exercise my proprietary lock down on your mouth and digestive system to prevent you from eating beans from anyone else. You can try to remove my bean-locking, but it might kill you, and I will be unhappy if you succeed. I did try to push legislation to stop that, but it didn't go my way. Oh, and I will periodically push out an update to you that mi
        • What do you mean no competition. Android is totally killing iOS in sales. Aren't they? Aren't they? So your metaphor is totally wrong. It's more like this.
          I run a small and successful store. Megamart opened up next door, and they sell everything I do and more. They franchise their brand to anyone who meets their terms (for free!), and although the franchisees aren't always the most agreeable to this, they pretty much allow any vendor to put their stuff on the shelves. Sometimes the quality is not g
        • by jo_ham ( 604554 ) <> on Thursday June 09, 2011 @12:58PM (#36390114)

          No competition? What about Android?

          It's either totally crushing iOS and being a triumph for "open over closed" *or* Apple has a monopoly on mobile apps.... you can't have your cake and eat it.

          It is not illegal to have a monopoly, or to have a homogenous system - another analogous position would be Xbox Live and the online store there, or the PSN (when it's working, I kid, I kid).

          Crucially no one is forcing you to use an iOS device, or an Xbox 360, or a Playstation, and using one of those does not restrict the competitors at all.

      • Sure. But you "don't want to sell beans in your store" because the city council told you not to - they want to reduce politically-oriented flatulence in town meetings.

        But I won't buy anything from you at all, and I'm going to tell everyone you hate the tasty beans of freedom.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by wygit ( 696674 )

      Apple doesn't have to allow apps showing photos of kittens if it chooses to ban those. It's a privately owned business.
      Yes, Apple has a leg to stand on.

  • Is there some app that will allow me to avoid politicians?

  • Most DUI checkpoints are published in newspapers ahead of time.

    Will Apple also be banning newspaper apps?

    • by jo_ham ( 604554 )

      The new ToS are about removing apps that use information that was not publicly available already. The data published by the police is still fine to use. Of course, the troll summary leaves that out to try to paint Apple in as poor a light as possible, but this is slashdot.

      The answer to your question is thus "no", as answered in TFA.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by chuckugly ( 2030942 )

        The new ToS are about removing apps that use information that was not publicly available already. The data published by the police is still fine to use. Of course, the troll summary leaves that out to try to paint Apple in as poor a light as possible, but this is slashdot.

        So just to be clear, since it appears ALL checkpoints [] have to be published publicly, therefore NO apps are to be banned?

        Or no?

    • That's kind of a funny insight -- certain legislators being cranked that public information has unexpectedly gotten into a readable, useful format. Implying that newspapers have degenerated to the status of "officially public information" but "assuming no one actually reads them".

    • Hey brainiac, I know reading the fucking article is so last-year around here, but if you had bothered to read it, you would have seen this:

      In revised app store guidelines discovered by Mac Rumors, Apple has updated Section 22.8 to now read:
      Apps which contain DUI checkpoints that are not published by law enforcement agencies, or encourage and enable drunk driving, will be rejected.

      This submission is retardedly inaccurate flamebait. If your app contains information about checkpoints that have been published

      • I'm sorry to deflate your rage-boner, but the "or" clause in that language means that either of those criteria can cause a ban.

        Given that "encourage and enable" is overly broad, and could, in fact, relate to any source of information, the original question still stands.

  • by Reverberant ( 303566 ) on Thursday June 09, 2011 @11:40AM (#36388790) Homepage

    According to TFA, the terms ban:

    Apps which contain DUI checkpoints that are not published by law enforcement agencies,

    But aren't all DUI checkpoints supposed to be publicized ahead of time? []

  • There is absolutely nothing illegal about those apps. Senators stating they are illegal is an outright lie and violation of the 1st amendment. DUI checkpoints are in fact public knowledge because the public must be informed the checkpoints are in place, because they can prevent people from getting places on time. The general public is usually informed by putting in a newspaper. Because it is public knowledge, the apps are a extension of freedom of speech. It would be the same as an application that allows y
  • so now the apps are 'illegal', and they are not even drugs or weapons.

  • How about an app that you enter the name of a politician and you can enter details of something they have done that you heard about or check what others have reported about your favorite/hated officials. Info like where they are available in the public or where they are making public speeches just in-case you want to communicate with them or throw a sign at them.

  • make it a mobile HTML5 web page with map overlay
  • by DaMattster ( 977781 ) on Thursday June 09, 2011 @12:13PM (#36389406)
    This is why I am thankful for Android. You don't have to go to an "App Store" in order to install applications.
  • by blair1q ( 305137 ) on Thursday June 09, 2011 @01:00PM (#36390142) Journal

    The 4th Amendment will be preserved, even without the iCult's help.

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