This morning Apple finally capitulated to pressure from Capitol Hill and has removed several DUI checkpoint apps from their App Store. The move came after pressure from Senator Harry Reid a few months ago. The Senate Majority leader requested the RIM, Google and Apple all remove apps that promote drinking and driving from their various app marketplaces.
RIM immediate removed all offending apps. Google declined the request and still has DUI checkpoint apps in the Android Market.
Apple initially claimed that the offending apps didn't violate any of their guidelines; hence they had no recourse to remove the apps. Apple closed that loophole by amending their guidelines. Section 22.8 states that any DUI checkpoint apps that publish information not released by law enforcement agencies are in violation.
Law Enforcement agencies have long made DUI checkpoints public information. It is intended to be a deterrent to drunk drivers. The thinking behind it is that if motorists know that police are out in force, they will think twice about getting behind the wheel.
While the actual effects of that strategy are debatable, the developers of these apps argue that their apps perform the same function. That really is beside the point though. Lawmakers and activist groups contend that the apps promote drunk driving by helping people avoid the checkpoints on their way home. However, if a person owns a phone where they can access apps, they own a phone that can access the internet and find the checkpoints via law enforcement anyway.
With this move by Apple, Google is now the only mobile OS provider on the latter side of the debate. Public pressure will likely force them to remove DUI apps in the near future as well.
Posted by David Yi, Social Media and SEO Assistant at Wireless Emporium