The pressure on Google and Apple to remove DUI checkpoint applications (apps) is back in the news. As we previously reported on this blog, earlier this year, several members of Congress wrote a letter to Google, Apple, and research in Motion (Blackberry) asking the companies to remove DUI checkpoint apps from their smartphone stores. Only Research in Motion complied.

As reported by Ars Technica, Senator Tom Udall (D-NM) took his allotted five minutes during Thursday’s US Senate hearing on mobile privacy to condemn Apple and Google for not removing DUI checkpoint apps from their respective stores.

“Isn’t what these apps are doing is encouraging people to break the law?” Udall asked. Udall, along with Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ), Harry Reid (D-NV), Charles Schumer (D-NY), had called such apps “harmful to public safety.”

Apple’s Catherine Novelli has stated that there are differences of opinion on whether flagging the locations of checkpoints is inherently good or bad. Novelli pointed out that there are some apps that offer to call a local cab company for the user, for instance, which could be viewed as a net positive. “We are reviewing the situation and determining the best course of action in a thoughtful manner,” she said.

Google’s Davidson simply noted that apps that merely share information don’t violate the Android Marketplace policy “at this time.”

As we have continuously argued, DUI checkpoint applications serve as a powerful drunk driving deterrent. Publicizing the location of a California DUI checkpoint will often encourage a driver to designate a driver or call a cab rather than risk a DUI arrest.

If you or someone you know has been arrested for suspicion of driving under the influence in California, it is imperative to consult with an experienced DUI attorney. Contact our California DUI attorneys today.

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