On Wednesday, four prominent US Senators: Harry Reid (D-Nev.), Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.), Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.), and Tom Udall (D-N.M.) joined forces to send a letter expressing "grave concern" to Apple. The four lawmakers are astonished that Apple would continue to permit the downloading of applications designed to notify motorists of where police commonly patrol in search of drunk drivers.
As it turns out, these DUI checkpoint apps are quite popular, and a wide variety are currently available. One application the letter explicitly points to contains a database of DUI checkpoints that is updated in real-time. Another application, with more than 10 million users, let's users alert each other to DUI checkpoints in real time. Naturally, the four senators addressed how these apps make it difficult for police to protect innocent people from drunk drivers.
"With more than 10,000 Americans dying in drunk-driving crashes every year, providing access to iPhone and iPad applications that alert users to DUI checkpoints is harmful to public safety," the letter states. "We know that your company shares our desire to end the scourge of drunk driving and we therefore would ask you to remove these applications from your store."
The same letter was also sent to Google and Research in Motion.
Fewer than 24 hours after the letter was sent, RIM effectively pulled all DUI checkpoint apps for BlackBerry users. The move drew immediate praise from lawmakers. Still, Apple is yet to offer public comment on the matter. Same goes for Google chief Eric Schmidt. Of course, both Apple and Google are no strangers to taking heat in response to controversial apps gaining access to their respective app stores. And neither is famous for reacting quickly to such protests.