State Trooper car with Waze logo on the door

Nick Beer/Shutterstock (Licensed) remix by Jason Reed

Police department admits it uses Waze to lie about where its cops are, sparking debate

Twitter users are saying it violates the law


Jacob Seitz


Posted on Aug 31, 2022   Updated on Aug 31, 2022, 11:36 am CDT

A British police department is under fire for admitting to tricking drivers by reporting locations on the Waze app, using it like drivers would to flag potential speed traps.

According to a tweet from the Surrey Police Department, officers of theirs drop random police markers on the app to get drivers to slow down.

“We definitely don’t drop Police markers on Waze at random points on our patrol, nope – never,” the tweet said. “An easy way to get drivers to slow down on our roads – thanks Waze.”

This enraged people on Twitter, who said the police were “creating phantom units” to stop speeders and accused them of violating the law.

One of the popular features of Waze, a traffic navigation app owned by Google, is the ability for drivers to report speed traps and police on highways. These warnings to other drivers help them slow down when approaching potential speed traps and save them a possible ticket.

“So would putting false information onto an internet app to worry users be against the misuse of computers act or the malicious communication act?” one user asked.

“Technically not false though,” the police replied. “We are there at that very specific point in time.”

But a cop could put down a marker then move further down the road to catch people speeding up after they think the concern has passed.

Other users accused the police of skirting Waze’s terms of service.

“From Waze’s terms of service: ‘You may use the Service solely for private and personal purposes. You may not use the Service commercially’ it continues you may not: ‘(xii) intentionally submit false reports and/or map edits on the Service;’” a user said. “well done, hope you get banned!”

However, some users agreed with the police’s decision.

“If this makes our roads safer, if it helps you locate traffic offenders, then it’s fine by me. If you don’t want the fine or the time – don’t do the crime!” one user said.

Waze did not respond to a request for comment from the Daily Dot.

Share this article
*First Published: Aug 31, 2022, 11:31 am CDT