Ukraine Crisis: Google Maps live traffic information turned off in country

The live service has been shut down temporarily to protect users, but navigation features still work.

Ukraine Crisis: Google Maps live traffic information turned off in country
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Google has disabled real-time web traffic data from being displayed on its Maps app in Ukraine.


The app displays this info by accumulating confidential information from Android mobile phones, which shows how busy roads, as well as different areas, are.

Yet it has actually currently been switched off in the area momentarily to shield individuals.

Google verified the transfer to the BBC, having actually informed Reuters it took the action for the safety and security of neighbourhood areas, after getting in touch with local authorities.

Although web traffic information has actually been impaired, normal map navigating functions are still operating appropriately in the location.

Data similar to this has actually long been utilized by individuals involved in desktop computer discovery surrounding substantial occasions.


Open-source intelligence


OSINT, or open-source knowledge, includes ordinary people utilizing information readily available online, such as info regarding website traffic or satellite images, to assemble a photo of what's happening on the ground.

As an example, live traffic information on Google Maps is upgraded as a result of smartphones sending anonymised place information to Google. If great deals of phone signals appear to be slow-moving or stationary (because of being embedded traffic) the application updates to suggest roadways are congested.

Benjamin Strick, director of examinations for the Centre for Info Resilience, told the BBC that while this information works, it's not giving us the full picture.

" It can be helpful in confirming material to address indispensable inquiries such as where something was filmed, where it took place, when it took place, and also what remains in it," he stated.

" Yet occasionally that can be a little risky with misinterpretation.

" Some individuals might see a line of light on radar images, as well as think it's a traffic accumulation. We've seen this online where individuals take a look at previous images - and also I have actually observed that, in fact, it's simply a high-voltage line.

" So that's actually tricky because it can develop headlines. It's really important to just double-verify everything as well as question everything."

Could phone signals reveal secret troop movements?

No, and also yes.
Given the beginning of Russia's intrusion of Ukraine, open-source scientists have been poring over information from a variety of resources in an initiative to better recognize occasions as they unravel.
It's unlikely that website traffic information in Ukraine is being produced by smartphones lugged by military employees though.



On 24 February, an open-source intelligence scientist in the USA consolidated satellite radar photos and also Google Maps traffic congestion information from the Ukrainian boundary and also ended that the invasion of Ukraine by Russian pressures had started.

But Mr Strick discussed that information revealing heavy traffic build-up around cities could be clarified by civilians, as opposed to armed forces.

" People could post that on Twitter, claiming that there might be a lot of Russian vehicles there," he claimed.

" But that might additionally be individuals getting away out of the location. Maybe an old freeway roadway that has never ever had a car and truck for the past couple of months, as well as suddenly has three lorries travelling in one instruction.

" It doesn't actually mean it's going to resemble what you would see in the middle of New york city City with a web traffic accumulation."

What regarding keeping evacuees safe?

As data is supplied in real-time, there is an enigma surrounding just how to maintain individuals in Ukraine secure while sharing knowledge online.
Google changing off real-time website traffic information for Ukraine plainly assists with this, but Mr Strick states there are "a massive quantity of risks" bordering on keeping people risk-free.

" Anybody can discover exactly how to take a look at a video and also see where a person is filming from, or what instructions a person may be taking a trip. What we have actually been trying to do is establish some values around that," he said.

" There's a bit of a video game around now, to geolocate things as promptly as feasible as well as determine those areas. That's a large worry presently."