Google Maps disables live traffic data in Israel, Gaza at Israeli military’s request

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By Marissa Newman, Bloomberg News

Alphabet Inc.’s Google is disabling live traffic conditions in Israel and the Gaza Strip for its Maps and Waze apps at the request of the Israeli military, ahead of a potential ground invasion into Gaza.

“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,” a Google spokesperson said in a statement.

Google is removing real-time crowding data in Israel and Gaza at the request of the Israel Defense Forces, according to a person with knowledge of the matter who asked not to be identified to discuss internal matters. Live traffic information could reveal Israeli troop movements.

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The company took similar action in Ukraine last year after Russia’s invasion of the country, disabling real-time vehicle and foot traffic data.

While Maps and Waze won’t show real-time traffic, drivers using the navigation systems will continue to receive estimated times of arrival that are based on live conditions, Google said.

Israeli tech site GeekTime, which first reported the development, said Apple Inc.’s Maps app also complied with the Israeli army request. A representative for Apple did not immediately respond to a request for comment. The Israel Defense Forces did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Israel called up more than 300,000 reservists after attacks from the terrorist group Hamas killed more than 1,400 people in southern Israel and saw more than 200 taken hostage. Hamas has been designated as a terrorist organization by the United States, Canada and the European Union.

The country’s military has hinted at a ground invasion of Gaza, which has received criticism from world leaders over risk of civilian casualties. U.S. President Joe Biden said he’d asked about “alternatives” to a ground war during his meetings with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu last week.


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