Microsoft “Avoid Ghetto” App Draws Controversy

Drivers are entitled to take the best and safest route possible whether being alerted of accident-prone intersections or weather changes that could alter road conditions.

[Originally posted January 2012.]

A new Microsoft mobile app may defy the Windows Phone slogan in its discrimination.

Microsoft’s newly-patented “avoid ghetto” app for GPS devices aims to help motorists steer clear of unsafe neighborhoods, but the concept’s controversial nature has garnered ire from critics.

The feature for mobile phones tracks crime stats and local weather to help drivers planning their route. The brouhaha stems from the idea of avoiding certain areas based on socio-economic or racial make-up.

Apps exist for almost every driver whim these days: it’s no tall order to track down the nearest gas station, 7-Eleven, or electric vehicle plug-in charger at the click of a button. But when issues of race and politics enter the fray, the applications lead to complications.


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