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RIM Agrees To Remove Apps that Help Drunken Drivers

Trapster

Now this is a real tricky one. Like most people I think all drunk drivers should be strung up and shot. On the other hand RIM agreeing to censor apps that help drunk drivers evade police checkpoints definitely opens the door to the subject of a slippery slope. According to Senator Charles E Schumer said “RIM’s decision to remove these apps from their online store proves that when it comes to drunk driving, there should not be an app for that.”

According to RIM’s current rules and guidelines for App World vendors there does not seem to be a reason to yank these apps since they do not break any law or regulation. This makes me wonder what could happen next if this is successful. What about applications that tell you when you are nearing a police speed trap? Quite a few popular GPS devices can do that so should they also be banned? How about a texting or messaging app that might be used while driving? RIM even recently posted a partner press release on their own site highlighting an app that helps you avoid speeding cameras.

So the question is where will RIM’s moral compass lead them next? Hopefully it stays put since I understand blocking apps that promote drunken driving but once you set precedent…

BTW it looks like Trapster has been pulled

via CNN and CNet – Thanks to everyone who sent this in!

10 total comments on this postSubmit your comment!
  1. I’m really not concerned. There are SO MANY markets for BlackBerry apps online from Mobihand to GetJar to whatever, if RIM brings down the banhammer these sorts of apps can still live on.

    As far as we know, RIM has no “kill switch” like we’ve seen both Apple and Google exercise recently, right?

  2. Because there is NO use for this app except when drunk, right? Because the public is supposed to remain ignorant of public servant activity, right?

  3. Interesting news….especially to see a provider take a political stance on something. Fully agree with David though, not going to hurt RIM at all in the way of available apps.

  4. You know, those trap avoid-y things never worked for my father.

    He must have gotten stopped by police 10 times when driving to and from my college. I guess that’s why he stopped and paid someone to do it.

  5. Fortunately, unlike with iPhone and some Android phones, you can still download Trapster and other apps directly OTA from the developer’s web site. When Steve Jobs pulls an app, it’s censorship (whether justified or not). When RIM pulls an app from App World, it’s simply saying it doesn’t want to promote it but they’re not preventing you from using it.

  6. I have to agree completely with Ronen. On the surface, it seems like a good idea, but what are they really accomplishing? Nothing. Are they going to ask wireless carriers to ban text messages at night because someone might use a text message to alert their friends to a DUI checkpoint? This is no different. I’ve actually gotten e-mails from colleagues when leaving office parties informing everyone of possible DUI checkpoints.

    I’ve actually seen a local news interview of cops asking them what they think about Trapster specifically, and whether or not they think it should be banned. Every cop said they like Trapster because it encourages voluntary compliance with the law. In places with a “high risk” of a speed trap, I certainly slow down. And everyone who uses it knows it’s not a foolproof system. I’ve come across many speed traps that weren’t reported prior and weren’t in “high risk” zones. I don’t drink and drive, but I imagine if you’re sitting in the bar thinking about whether to take a cab or drive yourself home and you bust open your DUI app and see like 4 checkpoints, you might just take that cab.

    Who is RIM trying to win over here? Users aren’t going to be happy over any decrease in the amount of available apps when they are already in short supply on the platform. Developers of said apps are likely to just have another reason to abandon the platform.

  7. That is the best part of having a BlackBerry, RIM can remove the app from the app world but we can still get it from the developper’s website. Blogs like BR let us know about apps that aren’t in the app world. Apple On the hand has to approve every app.

  8. Let s be honest. How many drunk people are going to be able to read the app any way. Blurred vision is just one side affect of intoxication and to have enough coordination to be able to pull your phone out, load up the app and read it is a bit much for me. Not that I drink that much any way. It would only really affect the people that have had 3 or 4 beers in about an hour and a half time frame and they feel just fine but would never be able to pass a breath test.

    But thanks to the ability to just download form the developers site this is just a download away.

  9. Am I missing something here? what does a radar detector simulator have anything to do with drunk driving?

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