Two weeks have passed since I warned everyone about Amazon drone deliveries being the biggest threat to our privacy that Americans have ever seen. But a recent news release revealed that Google is giving them a run for the money.
Waze’s latest feature ‘save your drive’ on Live Map will record Americans driving habits in real-time, effectively turning Waze into a national drivers surveillance program.
As The Medium explains, Waze’s save your drive feature gives users “the ability to take that planned drive and save it to the app for a unified experience across our platforms, making trip planning even easier.”
Hiding behind the convenience factor, 9 to 5 Google tries to explain how using Waze anonymously is fraught with the headache of entering your personal information each and every time.
“This not only relieves the headache of entering your home address over and over, but it allows for 7-day customized planning on the Live Map. What time you should leave Monday might be very different than what time you should leave Friday.”
How could allowing Waze to know a persons 7-day driving habits threaten their privacy?
The Medium reveals how Waze stores drivers personal travel information to the cloud. Motorists who allow Waze to save their driving pattern[s] will “ensure you head out at the right time based on the latest real-time information.”
As The Verge explains, Waze “will show personalized information pulled from other trips you’ve taken or places you’ve driven to recently, such as how long the app anticipates it will take for you to get to work.”
“New traffic notifications, also rolling out next month, will tell you to hit the road when Waze detects traffic build-ups to your favorite and frequent destinations and along one-time planned drives so that you can try to beat the rush.”
“The Waze Beacons Program empowers partners, such as municipalities and tunnel owners, to:Enable uninterrupted location services underground ensuring drivers never miss an in-tunnel exit.”
Google also figured out how to take advantage of COVID-19 by creating a “Waze Crisis Response Team.” which lets governments track motorists driving trends or habits.
“The Waze Crisis Response Team is working together with our community of volunteer Map Editors and governments around the globe to add quarantine-related road closures, map pins for medical testing centers, and emergency food distribution center locations.”
Google’s “Waze Crisis Response Team” is all too eager to give governments [law enforcement] insight into people’s driving trends.
“We are making our Waze COVID-19 Impact Dashboard externally available so governments, academics and the interested public can gain more insight into local driving trends.”
Read another way, law enforcement can request a persons personal driving habits looking for COVID-19 travel violations or any number of traffic violations.
I wonder who could have predicted that Google would give Amazon a run for their money as one of the biggest threats to Americans’ privacy.