“Alphabet Inc’s subsidiary, Google, has disabled maps and navigation apps that provide real-time traffic conditions in Israel and Gaza ahead of a possible ground attack by Israel. According to Google, this decision was made at the request of the Israeli military.
According to media reports, Google is removing real-time crowd-sourced data in Israel and Gaza at the request of the Israel Defense Forces (IDF). A source familiar with the matter stated that real-time traffic information in the affected areas could potentially expose the movements of Israeli military personnel.
In a statement, a Google spokesperson explained that, in light of the evolving situation similar to past conflicts and changing conditions in the region, they have temporarily disabled access to real-time traffic information to protect local communities.
It is worth noting that this is not the first instance of Google Maps taking such action in a specific region. Similar measures were taken in Ukraine in 2022, where real-time data for car and pedestrian traffic was deactivated.
According to the Israeli tech site, GigaTime, Apple Inc’s Maps application has also directly disabled real-time traffic information in Israel and Gaza at the request of the Israeli military.
After Israeli military operations in response to attacks by the militant Palestinian group Hamas, which resulted in over 140 deaths and more than 200 Israeli civilians seeking shelter in southern Israel, over 300,000 IDF reserves have been called up on an emergency basis.
The Israeli military has hinted at a ground offensive in Gaza, prompting strong international reactions and concerns about civilian casualties. US President Joe Biden said he discussed the potential for a “ground incursion” during his meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu last week.”