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Google Disables Maps traffic data in Ukraine

As part of its Maps map service, Google also offers a traffic tracking feature. This is practical in everyday life to avoid traffic jams. But this can be abused in wars, which is why Google is now deactivating this feature in Ukraine. The reason for this is that they want to protect the safety of refugees, at least that is the official justification.

As the news agency Reuters reported that the Mountain View, California-based company will temporarily disable some Google Maps tools that provide information about traffic volume and how busy some places are. After consultation with relevant sources, including the Ukrainian authorities, it was decided to take this step to protect the people on the run. However, the whole probably also has a military and intelligence level: because how? motherboard writes that “jams” could be experienced shortly after the start of the Russian invasion, which in all probability were Russian troop columns.

Traffic jam as a sign of invasion

Jeffrey Lewis, an Open Source Intelligence (OSINT) expert, was the first to notice: The Middlebury Institute professor saw a traffic jam on Google Maps near the Russian city of Belgorod, on the way to the Ukrainian border. While this may not sound unusual, it happened at 3:15 a.m. the night before the Russian attack officially began or was announced by President Putin. Lewis: “I think we were the first to see the invasion. And we saw it on a traffic app.”

According to Google, only the global display or provision of this data is currently disabled, but drivers should still receive such traffic information locally. That is certainly understandable since many Ukrainians also flee by car.