Fuzz Alert CEO, and developer, Steve Croke has recently stated that his DUI-checkpoint iPhone app has seen a huge sales increase in response to scrutiny and political pressure to shut it down.
According to USA Today, four senators have tried to restrict his Fuzz Alert app, but their aim may have backfired into giving the app additional popularity. Croke claims that his intentions weren’t to allow drunks to pinpoint and bypass regulations with their drunken driving habits.
Croke is reported to be considering removing the DUI-checkpoint locator, to prove that isn’t the aim of the app. According to Croke, the aim is more warning-based; that it informs drivers of a potential hazard (whether it is drinking, speeding, or other habits they may have).
“This is nothing but a warning device, to let people know that they potentially are in an area where you should watch your speed,” Croke said.
The four senators who brought his app to attention, and helped its sales to grow, have Research In Motion (RIM) as a supporter.
“Democratic Sens. Charles Schumer of New York, Harry Reid of Nevada, Frank Lautenberg of New Jersey and Tom Udall of New Mexico asked smartphone makers Apple, Google and Research in Motion to quit selling apps that allow drivers to locate checkpoints, or to disable that function, according to USA Today. “Research in Motion, maker of the BlackBerry, agreed.”
Fuzz Alert, and Fuzz Alert Pro actually offer other checkpoints besides just ones targeting DUIs. Here is a list of features that Fuzz Alert allows drivers to have while on the road (taken from a the app’s website):
FUZZ ALERT was designed to be a smart phone, audio/visual electronic device to warn a driver of a potential speed impediment or traffic enforcement area. These areas are GPS located by a user sharing information among other users. The concept is much like a traffic warning sign that indicates a traffic light ahead or slowdown for a curve ahead. Technology has progressed such that FUZZ ALERT believes these types of metal yellow signs will someday be replaced by alerts from the FUZZ ALERT app.
A report on Tuesday, May 10, by Apple Insider, revealed that Apple is taking such apps quite seriously. Seriously enough to reassure senators it is looking into the matter of just how legal they are.
“During a U.S. Senate subcommittee hearing on Tuesday, Apple Vice President of Software Technology Guy L. “Bud” Tribble told senators that the company is in the process of “looking into” the legality of apps that broadcast police DUI checkpoints,” according to Apple Insider.
It is interesting to note how RIM seems so interested in the matter, and in the way Apple is running the App Store. Could it be that RIM wants Apple subject to as much scrutiny as possible in order to undermine their competition and remove Apple’s 30 percent profits from such apps? Either way the app is still available.