Lazy eyes listen
According to several media sources, Google Maps, Waze, and Apple Maps no longer display live traffic updates for Israel and Gaza. The action comes ahead of the Israel Defence Forces’ (IDF) planned invasion of Palestinian land.
“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 business information out of consideration for the safety of local communities,” a spokesperson for Google said to Bloomberg on Monday.
While real-time traffic data has been disabled, users can still use navigation systems and see anticipated arrival times that are based on live conditions, according to him.
Another source familiar with the incident told Bloomberg that Google removed real-time crowding data in Israel and Gaza at the behest of the IDF since such data may potentially disclose Israeli army movements.
Google made a similar action in 2022, when it blocked live traffic data on Google Maps in Ukraine following the start of Russia’s military operation. The corporation stated at the time that it made the decision after speaking with Ukrainian authorities.
Apple appears to have begun complying with the IDF request on Monday, according to Israeli tech outlet Geek Time, with users unable to receive current traffic reports on Apple Maps.
The IDF and Apple have neither acknowledged nor rejected the reports.
Meanwhile, US officials have allegedly expressed reservations about Israel’s planned ground campaign, with some claiming that the IDF has a viable plan for sending troops into Gaza and may be unable to defeat Hamas.
On October 7, Hamas launched an offensive into Israel, murdering an estimated 1,400 Israelis and kidnapping another 200. According to local officials, Israel responded by declaring war on the Palestinian organisation and laying siege to Gaza, unleashing artillery and air assaults, and murdering around 5,000 Palestinians.