Google, Apple disable real-time traffic data in maps in Israel, Gaza amid security concerns
In response to a request from the Israeli military and ahead of the possibility of a ground invasion into the Gaza Strip, Google and Apple have temporarily disabled real-time traffic conditions and crowding data in Israel and the Gaza Strip for their respective Maps and Waze apps.
A spokesperson from Google stated, “As we have done previously in conflict situations and in response to the evolving situation in the region, we have temporarily disabled the ability to see live traffic conditions and busyness information out of consideration for the safety of local communities.”
According to a source with knowledge of the matter, Google has taken this action at the behest of the Israel Defense Forces, as live traffic information could potentially disclose Israeli troop movements.
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While the real-time traffic data will no longer be available, users of Maps and Waze will still receive estimated times of arrival based on live conditions, ensuring that navigation services remain functional.
This is not the first time Google has implemented such measures, as they did the same in Ukraine last year following Russia’s invasion.
Reports also suggest that Apple Inc.’s Maps app has complied with the Israeli army’s request, although Apple has not issued a comment on the matter at the time of this report. The Israel Defense Forces have not yet responded to requests for comment.
Israel has recently called up over 300,000 reservists in response to attacks by the militant group Hamas, resulting in the deaths of more than 1,400 people in southern Israel and the taking of more than 200 hostages.
Israel’s military has hinted at a possible ground invasion of Gaza, a move that has garnered criticism from world leaders due to concerns about civilian casualties. U.S. President Joe Biden mentioned that he had explored “alternatives” to a ground war during his recent meetings with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
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