Google Maps disables live-traffic feature for Ukraine after reports it was being used to track ground activity during Russian invasion
- The tool was being used by some to detect military operations there following
Google has temporarily switched off some of its mapping features in Ukraine, after learning that the tools used to provide live updates about traffic were being used to track activity at reported sites of Russian attacks in the country.
Google Maps' live traffic feature works by siphoning data from smartphones with the app installed, derived in real-time from users who have their location services. The feature can then analyze how many cars there are as well as the speed they're travelling at.
The company confirmed the move to VICE World
The feature was being used by some to detect military operations there.
One such observer was Jeffrey Lewis, a nonproliferation professor at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies in Monterey, California, who said he witnessed an attack in the conflict even before Russian President Vladimir Putin announced his country's military operations there last week.
Lewis previously told Insider that he believes him and his team "were the first people to identify that the invasion was underway."
Google's decision to disable the feature Lewis and others had used to witness the invasion comes a day after the Ukrainian highways agency called on its citizens to dismantle road signs.
Intended to confuse Russian troops, the agency made its announcement on Facebook, writing, "The enemy has a pathetic connection [direction], they do not focus on the terrain. Let's help them get straight to hell."
Since the conflict began, Google has made other moves as a response. Google-owned YouTube blocked Russian-owned and Russia-funded media companies from monetizing, with Google soon following suit to block the same types of companies from monetizing their websites, apps, and videos.
- India's foreign exchange reserves fall to $573 bn
- India's retail inflation dropped below 7% in July for the first time in four months
- Samsung announces Galaxy Watch5 Series with sleep tracking and IR temperature sensor
- India's exports rose to $36 billion in July; trade deficit almost triples
- Rupee, bond yield ends almost flat ahead of the long weekend