The Google Maps tool, which provides real-time information on congestion and traffic conditions, is disabled in Ukraine until further notice.
And this step, according to Reuters, was decided by Google “to preserve the safety of local communities in the country”, which is currently facing attacks by Russian forces.
Tech companies like Google are taking steps to protect the safety of Ukrainian users. The portal stated that nearly 400,000 civilians have fled to neighboring countries since the Russian invasion.
Traffic information has been disabled for remote viewing, but is still directly available to local drivers using turn-by-turn navigation features. A Google spokesperson also officially confirmed the restriction.
Application is a double-edged sword that can lead an attacker directly to a planned target or serve as a tool for visualizing (and possibly stopping) military action. Thanks to maps, for example, Jeffrey Lewis knew the attack was coming a few hours before news of it came out last week.
The Washington Post reports that a professor of arms control at the California Institute of International Studies in Middlebury and his team monitored Google Maps, noting an unexpected increase in traffic near southwest Belgorod — just before the usual rush hour.
It turned out that the Russian armored unit was heading towards the Russian-Ukrainian border. “Once upon a time, we depended on a journalist to tell us what was going on in the field,” Lewis told the newspaper. “Today you can open Google Maps and see people fleeing Kyiv.”