Google Disables Live Traffic Maps of Ukraine Over Fears of Revealing Troop Movements
Tech giant Google has disabled the live traffic data on its Maps app in Ukraine after consulting with Ukrainian officials who worry that the feature could be used to track military movements.
Futurism reports that Google has disabled live traffic data on its Maps app in Ukraine after speaking with Ukrainian officials. As Ukraine contends with the Russian invasion, the country has been reaching out to tech giants for help in many areas.
In this photo provided by the Russian Defense Ministry Press Service on Monday, Feb. 14, 2022, Russian tanks roll on the field during military drills in Leningrad region, Russia. (Russian Defense Ministry Press Service via AP)
While the Google Maps app is convenient for civilians navigating city streets and roads, those analyzing the maps and data for specific information can gain a surprising amount of insight. One example of unintended revelations by mapping apps comes from fitness app Strava, which once published data on its users’ running routes, accidentally revealing the locations of secret military bases.
Recently, Jerry Lewis, an open-source intelligence expert and nuclear nonproliferation professor of Middlebury College, noticed signs of the initial invasion by Russia last Thursday by analyzing traffic jams on the Ukrainian border with Google Maps. Lewis told Motherboard: “I think we were the first people to see the invasion, and we saw it in a traffic app.”
Lewis stressed that the data obtained from Google Maps could place the lives of civilians and the Ukrainian military at risk. “I think big data companies often don’t want to face squarely how useful their data can be,” Lewis told Motherboard. “I mean, it’s cool when we do it, right? It’s maybe less cool if the Russians were able to do something similar to, you know, spotting an offensive from Ukrainians.”
As a result, Google has disabled the Maps service in Ukraine as the war continues.
Breitbart News has reported extensively on the situation in Ukraine, read more here.