Apple Bans DUI Checkpoint Apps in App Store Guidelines

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iPhone DUI CheckpointsApple has changed its App Store review guidelines to specifically ban DUI checkpoint apps, apps that are designed to help users circumvent the police by alerting them when they are near an unpublished DUI checkpoint.  The move comes after four U.S. Senators asked Apple and Google both to ban such apps in a letter sent in March of 2011, with additional pressure during Senate hearings on the way the companies used location data services.

According to Autoblog, Apple now has a section in its App Store Review Guidelines, section 22.8, that states: “Apps which contain DUI checkpoints that are not published by law enforcement agencies, or encourage and enable drunk driving, will be rejected.”

According to that wording, apps that simply track checkpoints that have been published would still be acceptable. Some police forces do advertise their checkpoints in an attempt to discourage drunk driving ahead of time by letting the citizenry know that high traffic areas will have a police presence. In fact, the entire state of California requires that checkpoint locations be made public ahead of time.

CNet also noted that the terms don’t affect apps that track speed traps, like Trapster, are still available.

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Dean Lewis

Hmm. Interesting. And the government’s own Center for Disease Control says that sobriety checkpoints work whether they are published or not, so it really shouldn’t matter if the publication of the checkpoint location is being done by an app or required by law.


The review combined the results of 23 scientifically-sound studies from around the world. Results indicated that sobriety checkpoints consistently reduced alcohol-related crashes, typically by about 20%. The results were similar regardless of how the checkpoints were conducted, and results were similar for short-term ?blitzes? or when checkpoints were used continuously for several years.

A ban on these apps is simply inconsequential and overreaching. However, Apple gets to look responsible, I guess. (Who wants to be seen as supporting drunk driving, despite that it is really supporting the right of all drivers to not be stopped when they are doing nothing wrong?)


Next up: cameras that automatically disable themselves if you’re filming law enforcement.

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