Sophia in English: Waze and the Dangers of Social Media to Law Enforcement

With the onset of social media, its use concerning law enforcement has changed dramatically. First, police officers and detectives were using Facebook and twitter to monitor gang and criminal activity, but now it seems that it has become a two way street. With the new app Waze, users can monitor anything from traffic jams, accidents, and even the locations of police officers. The app originally had good intentions, like letting people know about a traffic accident beforehand so they could avoid it. However, according to CNN, the app has been endangering police officers and putting public safety at risk.

The number of people getting killed in speed related and drunk driving accidents has been increasing ever, and some of this may be contributed to Waze allowing users to pinpoint where police officers are situated to avoid them. The app also puts law enforcement officials at an incredible risk. When police officers Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu were assassinated at point blank range, it was found that the shooter used Waze to monitor police movements in the days before the shooting.

The app seems to be having a backwards effect, instead of creating a safer public, it might be making things more dangerous. By alerting the general public to the movements of police officers, it also alerts perpetrators of domestic violence, gang members and other criminals of their movements as well.

This asks the question: is it really worth endangering police officers and the general public just to avoid a speeding ticket? The app is still helpful, and some of its features are actually very useful. The apps owner, Google, has stayed silent on the controversy surrounding the app, but if Google were to tweak the app slightly, as in remove information considering law enforcement, the app would still be useful. This way, police officers are not endangered, and the public are still receiving useful traffic information.

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