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Police Concerns – Google Mobile App for Drivers

Police ahead! - Waze Mobile App Display

Police ahead! – Waze App Display

US Sheriffs are campaigning for Google to switch off a feature of their Android app for drivers, which displays the location of police officers on their driving map.

According to The Guardian:

Waze, which Google purchased for $966m in 2013, is a combination of GPS navigation and social networking. Fifty million users in 200 countries turn to the free service for real-time traffic guidance and warnings about nearby congestion, car accidents, speed traps or traffic cameras, construction zones, potholes, stalled vehicles or unsafe weather conditions.

To Sergio Kopelev, a reserve deputy sheriff in southern California, Waze is also a stalking app for law enforcement.

There are no known connections between any attack on police and Waze, but law enforcers such as Kopelev are concerned it’s only a matter of time. They are seeking support among other law enforcement trade groups to pressure Google to disable the police-reporting function. The emerging policy debate places Google again at the center of an ongoing global debate about public safety, consumer rights and privacy.

Waze users mark police presence on maps without much distinction other than “visible” or “hidden”. Users see a police icon, but it’s not immediately clear whether police are there for a speed trap, a sobriety check or a lunch break. The police generally are operating in public spaces.

The Waze mobile app controversy highlights the radical impact mobile apps are having on our lives. Avoiding speed cameras is obviously a very attractive feature for drivers – if nothing else, it helps highlight dangerous stretches of road where they should pay particular care, assuming that speed cameras have been installed with a view to improving public safety. But as the recent deliberate murder of police officers demonstrates, an app which potentially assists deranged individuals to perpetrate crimes is obviously a serious concern.

I don’t know what the right tradeoff is between liberty and safety, though I tend towards the liberty side of the debate. Regardless of police concerns, the threat they have highlighted is hypothetical. There is no evidence anyone has actually used Waze to facilitate a violent crime.

One thing is clear – the original creators of the Waze Android App made 966 million dollars. At the time the app was purchased by Google, nobody had any concerns about possible malicious use of Waze Mobile App features.

In my opinion, the lesson is, if you are evaluating what features to include in your app, do what due diligence you can, with the information available – but nobody can predict every possibility.

Hervey Bay Business Mobile App Development Meetup

Announcing the new Hervey Bay Business Mobile App Development Meetup.

Desirable Apps are hoping to get everyone in the Hervey Bay / Maryborough / Fraser Coast area who are interested in mobile apps together in one place, in the Lakes Room in Hervey Bay RSL, to talk shop, bounce ideas off each other, and stimulate creativity and business inspiration.

Meet us on the 26th November between 10am and midday in the Lakes Room of the Hervey Bay RSL, 11 Torquay Road, Hervey Bay, 4655.

For more details, click

Everyone is welcome – people with a mobile app idea, people who are interested in mobile apps, businesses or individuals considering creating their own apps, iPhone App developers, Android App developers, Mobile Web developers. Bring your favourite phone. We look forward to seeing you at the meeting!

Why do your clients need your mobile app idea?

Dilbert - Corporate Strategy

Dilbert – Corporate Strategy

Today’s Dilbert cartoon is a hilarious take on marketing, which contains more than a grain of truth. Dilbert, in this episode, when asked what should be done to sell more products, replies “we should find out what they need, and give it to them”.

This solution seems so simple, so self evident, yet its amazing how rarely people follow this fundamental prescription for success.

Dilbert is not specifically about iPhone Apps or Android Apps, but its well worth reading – it satirises many common business mistakes.

Anyway, enough preaching – enjoy the cartoon 🙂

Beware War Kitty!

A security researcher with rather too much time on his hands, has turned his grandmother’s siamese cat into a devastating cyberspy. He did this, by creating a cat collar with a WIFI sensor, which detects weak home wireless internet systems, and reports back to home base.

The original cat collar was just a HTC mobile phone attached to a normal collar, but this proved too much of a burden to the cat, which ditched its payload, then ran off and hid.

So the researcher went all out, creating a super miniature version of his cyber sniffer.

For full details of this hilarious, yet oddly disturbing story, Click Here

Android App Blabs ALL your Secrets

The listening ear

The listening ear

The Register reports on a bizarre new Android App hack, which literally makes your phone blab all its secrets.

The malware app sidesteps the normal attack vectors by doing one simple thing – calling the bad guy’s voice phone number – then the malware coerces the phone into actually “speaking” all your secrets down the phone line, using a bug in Google text to voice.

So next time your phone starts talking by itself, listen to what it is saying – because all that unexpected chatter might be something more sinister than a funny little software defect.