Government of Chile asked Waze to temporarily suspend police reports

A recent measure taken after an agreement between the Government of Chile and Google, the company behind Waze, determined the temporary suspension of the police reporting function in the popular browsing platform.

This resolution, previously implemented only in France, seeks to control the evasion of police controls in confined areas.

One of the reasons why Waze is so popular with those who drive around town is the ability to report the presence of police checkpoints to the user community.

Currently, this function is disabled in Chile. Following a request issued by its government, said South American country agreed with Google to deactivate this function in those locations subject to mandatory quarantine.

The Chilean Undersecretary of Crime Prevention, Katherine Martorell, is the authority behind the issuance of this requirement. After announcing this measure, he declared that We have asked Waze to deactivate the police alert to have a more efficient inspection, so that people, when they are traveling, do not know what the inspection points are and that allows us to better control movements.

As long as this lockout remains active, users can continue to submit police checkpoint reports, but these will not appear on the map. This is because a temporary, local measure like this does not justify removing this feature from the interface, which would have to be implemented through a redesign that would affect all Waze users globally.

Although this initiative is indi- cated in Latin America, in March France designed a similar system, which was used as a reference for the measure taken in the southern country. In both cases, the justification behind the measure lies in preventing the unauthorized movement of possible quarantine offenders.

In addition to availing itself of the requirement issued by the Chilean executive branch, Waze has tools for locating health centers and other points of interest, to contribute to the control of infections during these days of pandemic.

Among the reactions after this announcement, an adverse response resounded strongly on the networks through the hashtag #AnimalMuerto, which became a trend on Twitter in Chile. This, after the viralization of a campaign that spread the use of reports of dead animals on the road as a coded message within Waze to carry out this same type of report.

As of the date of publication of this note, Chile ranks sixth in the world in the ranking of the number of deaths from coronavirus per 100,000 inhabitants and the first in all of America in this measurement.

The South American country has been under a State of Catstrophe since March due to a health emergency, with several localities in quarantine and with active health cords. As long as this condition is maintained, the lock of this function will remain in effect.

Against this background, the strengthening of the controls exercised by the Carabineros, the Chilean police, is an essential part of the government strategy of their country to contain the spread of COVID-19, considering that Waze, as in many other countries, leads in Chile downloads in app stores.

Google’s social navigation application has 50 million users globally and is currently considered one of the leaders in its area, along with its sister app Google Maps and its direct rival, Apple Maps.