UPDATE: CEO Joe Scott retracted the statements made in the press release quoted below. That story is available here.
When Apple sidelined new apps that were tipping off tipsy drivers about DUI checkpoints, we wondered what would happen to the apps that were already in the iTunes store.
Some of them — like Trapster — pulled the DUI alerts while continuing to offer info on speed traps.
But PhantomALERT just issued a press release boasting about how it stayed in iTunes “defying” the senators who pressured Apple to ban apps with DUI checkpoint info.
“While other DUI apps got cut — PhantomALERT was saved and is here to stay because they only include DUI checkpoints that are announced by police in advance (via text, website or press release) so PhantomALERT is just reporting locations that are already public!”
Because Apple cannot stop applications from using publicly-available information from police and local authorities, this was in part expected. Trapster reportedly pulled the DUI info because they didn’t want to fight Apple over it and DUI Dodger is exhorting people to download before they comply with the new guidelines.
It’s the braggadocio about DUI checkpoints that’s surprising.
The free app, which has an all-ages 4+ rating, works off a red light camera database covering every photo-intersection in the U.S. and Canada. PhantomALERT gives audio and visual alerts as drivers approach these intersections, helping them avoid expensive tickets.
Apple recently released new guidelines that put the kibosh on new apps with DUI checkpoints after bowing to pressure from lawmakers following a U.S. senate hearing.
PhantomAlert’s press people want to entice journos to set up interviews with the “entrepreneur who stuck it out and won against four powerful senators.”
While I can get behind the chutzpah of the press release, being seen as potentially enabling drunk drivers is a non-starter.
How long to you think they’ll last in iTunes now?