Technology with attitude

Waze – Did it Steal Data from a Rival Traffic App?

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Throughout its history, Google has contended with all manner of accusations.

Its recent acquisition of Waze has seen Google saddled with yet one more accusation – stealing data from a rival traffic app. Apparently, the data theft took place just prior to the acquisition of Waze by Google, according to the rival traffic app that has sued the company for this. The rival traffic app claims that Waze did this as a way of enhancing its product prior to selling to Google.

PhantomAlert is the company that has come up with the claims. In fact, it has gone a step further to institute a lawsuit against Waze and Google. The company specializes in providing information to road users regarding the following:

  1. Red light cameras
  2. Conditions of roads
  3. All types of traffic updates

How did PhantomAlert discover the theft?

PhantomAlert claims that it became aware of the data theft after realizing that Waze displayed its proprietary information. The traffic app maker claimed that Waze used information for which they never obtained authorization or consent. PhantomAlert goes ahead to say that Waze not only copied it’s database, but also went a step further and incorporated the same on its platform. PhantomAlert made these claims through its lawyers when filing the lawsuit against Waze.

Validity of Claims

What the courts now have to determine is whether the claims by PhantomAlert are true. If it finds that the claims are true, this will prove that Waze not only enhanced its value, but also boosted the sale price when Google offered to buy it. Secondly, if the claims are found to be true, the information will help to understand why Google seemed to be in a rush to conclude the deal to purchase Waze at a time when it seemed to be in a bidding war with Facebook.

PhantomAlerts’ discovery of the possible data theft occurred when it was trying to find out how Google could have parted with $1 billion to acquire Waze. While going through Waze, PhantomAlerts discovered some fake information it had used as part of some tests on the rival traffic app’s website. PhantomAlerts, which is located in Washington D.C, planted some fictitious bits of data for testing purposes, but never expected to find this in a rival firm’s app.

Compensation and Penalty

With the lawsuit, PhantomAlerts is demanding proper compensation for the stolen information, which it believes helped Waze attract the highest offers from Google. The lawsuit is PhantomAlerts way of ensuring that the wheels of justice punish Waze for stealing information. The lawsuit will fall or rise depending on the quality of evidence that PhantomAlerts can provide before the courts.

Google will not take pleasure from the fact that it purchased the Waze app, which engaged in data theft.