Google’s Waze App Will Share Data With Governments Around the World

Waze, one of the world’s largest community-based traffic and navigation app has announced they’re launching a data-exchange program in partnership with local governments worldwide. Aiming to improve the accuracy of traffic reports and conditions, the project will collect anonymous, crowd-sourced traffic data in real time before handing the information over to government agencies.
Google’s Waze App Will Share Data With Governments Around the World 1 photo
Photo: waze
Now, this sounds a bit familiar, right? Governmental agencies getting information from anonymous users worldwide to improve accuracy of a program. Well, let us not become haters quite yet. Waze is a company acquired by Google last year that is now considered as one of the world’s biggest mapping apps.

They’ve announced today the starting of “Connected Citizens,” a new government partnership program that will see both parties exchange data in order to improve traffic conditions. Right, so far so good. Problem is that Waze will provide real-time anonymized crowdsourced traffic data to governmental agencies. And in return it will receive information on public projects like construction, road sensors and pre-planned road closures.

No reason to worry about privacy, theoretically

No reason to worry about privacy, yet. At least that is what Di-Ann Eisnor, head of Growth at Waze noted, who, according to The Next Web, said that the data exchange will only include public alerts, such as accidents and closures. “We don’t share anything beyond that, such as where individuals are located and who they are,” she said.

However, ever since it turned out GPS maker TomTom was selling customers’ data, several years ago, some people tend to fear their personal information will leak. Eisnor claims there will be no such thing, as the company requires that new Connected Citizens partners prove their dedication to citizen engagement and commit to use the data only to improve the city efficiency.

An initial pilot program was run in Rio de Janeiro and, so far, Waze claims to have partnered up with several states in U.S. and big cities around the world. The list is open and the company has already received applications from more than 80 municipal groups. So far the following have partnered up:
  • Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
  • Barcelona, Spain and the Government of Catalonia
  • Jakarta, Indonesia
  • Tel Aviv, Israel
  • San Jose, Costa Rica
  • Boston, USA
  • State of Florida, USA
  • State of Utah, USA
  • Los Angeles County
  • The New York Police Department (NYPD)

The company also signed on five other government partners.
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