Police officers in Miami are flooding Google's traffic app Waze with false information in an attempt to deceive drivers, Autoblog reports. The goal is to make Waze's cop-reporting function less useful to drivers.
Waze lets users tag the exact location of police vehicles on a map and label them as "visible" or "invisible" to other drivers. Recently this function came under scrutiny when local sheriffs argued it could be used by criminals to locate and stalk law enforcement.
This is a revenue issue too
Hundreds of Miami cops have reportedly downloaded the app just to falsely report their own locations. By flooding Waze with misinformation, the officers hope to trick drivers who use the app to avoid law enforcement when driving recklessly.
This is just as much a revenue issue as it is a cop safety issue. If Waze's cop-reporting function is rendered useless by excessive misinformation, the cops argue, it will make ticketing drivers easier. But this doesn't really make sense: if Waze's maps are flooded with hundreds of police vehicles, Waze users in Miami will likely drive more carefully to avoid the vehicles — even if they aren't really there.
"Most users tend to drive more carefully when they believe law enforcement is nearby," Waze spokesperson Julie Mossler told the Associated Press.
Waze also allows users to verify the accuracy of information in the app, and creates a ranking system that places trustworthy users at the top. It's likely these Miami cops will be flagged as untrustworthy before too many drivers are fooled.