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Apple, Google, RIM Under Fire for DUI Checkpoint Apps

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Start installing taxi cab apps, because your sneaky way around DUI checkpoints may soon vanish.

This week, Senators Harry Reid of Nevada, Charles Schumer of New York, Frank Lautenberg of New Jersey, and Tom Udall of New Mexico requested that the major smartphone players ban apps which locate DUI checkpoints around the country. Available for the iPhone, Android, and BlackBerry platforms, the apps would indicate points on a map where officers set up shop and -- perfect for the drunk on the go -- use an alert system which pops up as soon as a fellow user adds another location.

"We know that your companies share our desire to end the scourge of drunk driving, and we therefore would ask you to remove these applications from your store unless they are altered to remove the DUI/DWI checkpoint functionality," the senators wrote. "One application contains a database of DUI checkpoints updated in real-time. Another application, with more than 10 million users, also allows users to alert each other to DUI checkpoints in real time."

The officials praised the work behind the apps, as well as the futuristic world we live in, but suggested a line must be drawn.

"We appreciate the technology that has allowed millions of Americans to have information at their fingertips, but giving drunk drivers a free tool to evade checkpoints, putting innocent families and children at risk, is a matter of public concern." Adding, "We hope that you will give our request to make these applications unavailable immediate consideration."

Already, BlackBerry maker Research in Motion submitted to the request. According to USA Today, RIM has agreed to pull its DUI checkpoint app from its market -- mostly affecting Enterprise users coming from a multiple-martini lunch. Having already felt the heat for its "gay cure" app, Apple may also acquiesce -- although it hasn't given any indication that it will.

As for Google, while the app and its variants may disappear from the Android Market, there's no stopping an installation from a third party market.

Which is reflected in Google's new campaign "Android: An OS for Tech-Savvy Alcoholics."

(See also: Android User Fires Back at Misleading iPhone Ads and The Mythology of Apple)

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