Weirdness of Waze

There is a popular GPS app, Waze. It was developed in Israel and bought by Google. The purpose of it is to not just track where you are, but to keep track of where you’ve been and where you normally go, not to mention when and for how long. It then gives you info based on your behavioral patterns. It is the ultimate spy app.

I hadn’t heard of it until my dad mentioned it to me. He has been using it lately. I’m not sure he realized what it was intended to do, because he was surprised by the results.

On several occasions, it has figured out the precise place he visits: the local senior center, his church, etc. Then it determined what was going on while he was there and gave him info about future events. Just yesterday, it told him about the church service and what time it was to begin today, and it told him how long it would take to drive there and some info from the church newsletter.

The app had figured this all out on its own. It used my dad’s past behavior and searched the web to find data that corresponded. It has even recommended to him events to him that didn’t fit his past behavior but fit the kinds of things he’d like to do in the places he does visit. He found it slightly disconcerting. It is clear that vast amounts of data is being kept and analyzed.

My dad’s smart phone is also connected to his car, which has GPS as well. I don’t know if the app is able to access to the car’s GPS, but it seems like that might be the case. He was leaving somewhere and the app told him where he had left his car, without him even asking it to do so. It just assumed he wanted to go to his car and it knew where it was.

Before long, such apps will know us better than we know ourselves. But until then, there will be a learning curve with these new technologies.

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Terms & Conditions: Waze is a privacy accident waiting to happen
by Andrew Couts, Digital Trends

Did Google Just Buy a Dangerous Driving App?
by Kevin Roose, New York Magazine

Israeli Students Hack GPS App Waze to Create Fake Traffic Jam
by Shiryn Ghermezian, The Algemeiner

Israeli troops relying on Waze app blunder into Palestinian area; clashes follow
by Ruth Eglash, The Washington Post

Waze app directions take woman to wrong Brazil address, where she is killed
by Shasta Darlington, CNN

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