In the latest example of big government run amok, several politicians think they ought to be in charge of which applications you should be able to install on your smartphone.
On March 22, four U.S. Senators sent a letter to Apple, Google, and Research in Motion urging the companies to disable access to mobile device applications that enable users to locate DUI checkpoints in real time. Unsurprisingly, in their zeal to score political points, the Senators — Harry Reid, Chuck Schumer, Frank Lautenberg, and Tom Udall — got it dead wrong.
Had the Senators done some basic fact-checking before firing off their missive, they would have realized that these apps actually enhance the effectiveness of DUI checkpoints while reducing their intrusiveness. And had the Senators glanced at the Constitution — you know, that document they swore an oath to support and defend — they would have seen that sobriety checkpoint apps are almost certainly protected by the First Amendment.
While Apple has stayed mum on the issue so far, Research in Motion quickly yanked the apps in question. This is understandable; perhaps RIM doesn’t wish to incur the wrath of powerful politicians who are notorious for making a public spectacle of going after companies that have the temerity to stand up for what is right.
Google has refused to pull the DUI checkpoint finder apps from the Android app store, reports Digital Trends. Google’s steadfastness on this matter reflects well on its stated commitment to free expression and openness. Not that Google’s track record is perfect on this front — like all firms, it’s made mistakes from time to time — but it’s certainly a cut above several of its competitors in the defending Internet freedom.