Usually used to know if the route will be congested, the Google Maps traffic analysis system takes on a whole new meaning in times of war. And for this, Google has disabled it in Ukraine.
On February 23, the eve of Russia’s invasion of Ukraineopen source data intelligence expert Dr. Jeffrey Lewis had tweeted about a traffic jam on the way to Belgorodon the border between Ukraine and Russia.
According @googlemapsthere is a “traffic jam” at 3:15 in the morning on the road from Belgorod, Russia to the Ukrainian border. It starts *exactly* where we saw a Russian formation of armor and IFV/APCs show up yesterday.
Someone’s on the move. pic.twitter.com/BYyc5YZsWL
— Dr. Jeffrey Lewis (@ArmsControlWonk) February 24, 2022
“According to @Google Maps there is a ‘traffic jam’ at 3:15am on the road from Belgorod, Russia to the Ukrainian border. It starts right where we saw a Russian armor and IFV/APC formation appear yesterday. Someone is on the move. »
No, the soldiers did not necessarily have their smartphone on them to indicate traffic jams. Corn this concentration of stationary vehicles indicated that the civilians were blocked. By what ? Well by moving russian army war vehicles.
Thus, faced with this situation of extreme crisis, Google decided to act on its side by disabling all data collected on Ukrainian soil.
The goal, to help fleeing citizens
With the deactivation of this data, the traffic jams caused by the flight of hundreds of thousands of Ukrainians no longer appear. But for neighboring countries, the service is still active and allows citizens to analyze the situation in the face of a potential flight from the country.
However, we do not yet know if Google has ever performed such a maneuver in a country at war before.