Feds Could Regulate Google, Apple Maps

A new proposal could let the federal government regulate all navigational applications such as Google Maps, according to reports.

The apps would be overseen and regulated by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, according to language in the Grow America Act, or "Generating Renewal, Opportunity, and Work with Accelerated Mobility, Efficiency, and Rebuilding of Infrastructure and Communities throughout America." Congress is supposed to soon look over the legislation that could greatly change how navigational apps look and work, according to InformationWeek.

The agency will oversee navigational apps whether embedded in a car dashboard or on a smart phone. This has lead to several critics from both the car and tech industry.

“They don’t have enough software engineers,” Catherine McCullough, executive director of the Intelligent Car Coalition, an industry group told the New York Times. “They don’t have the budget or the structure to oversee both Silicon Valley and the auto industry.”

Perhaps the legislation was prompted by Steven Spriggs, who was given a $165 ticket for using the Google Maps app in traffic in 2012. Spriggs appealed the decision and won, likely because of an argument  that using the app was no different than using a regular map. The incident highlighted that not everyone in law enforcement is on the same page with navigational apps.
Laws have yet to catch up with technology, and it's not surprising that some may be critical of a non-tech federal agency regulating aspects of it. Why have someone familiar with highway safety telling Google how to create its apps? It's a strange turn of events, but it may be a reality.
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