Google Drops Map Services In Ukraine Being Used To Target Troops

( Google confirmed on Sunday that it had temporarily disabled some Google Maps tools within Ukraine that provide live information about traffic conditions and an area’s “busyness.”

Google explained it had taken the action after consulting with regional authorities and others.

In short, with the help of these two tools, it was possible to track both Russian and Ukrainian troop movements by using Google Maps. So, for the safety of local communities in Ukraine, Google decided to disable these tools.

A professor at California’s Middlebury Institute of International Studies noted on Twitter last week that he was able to track Russian troop movements toward the Ukraine border just hours before President Vladimir Putin announced the attack.

According to Jeffrey Lewis, an arms control professor at Middlebury, using Google Map’s traffic layer allowed him to “see the first signs of the invasion.” He later told Vice that there was nothing stopping the Russians from doing the same thing to spot and track an offensive from Ukraine forces.

The Google Maps traffic layer was also used to track Ukrainian refugees fleeing the country. Over the weekend, screenshots were posted on social media showing miles-long traffic jams from refugees fleeing into Poland.

You can see why Google disabled these features.

Big Tech companies have said they are taking several measures to protect the security of users in Ukraine.

On Monday, Facebook said it had disabled around 40 fake accounts, groups, and pages geared toward Ukrainians that promoted fake articles about the war.

Facebook also confirmed on Monday it has restricted the Russian state media outlets Russia Today and Sputnik within the European Union after receiving requests from several governments along with the EU.

Google announced on Monday that it was blocking the YouTube channels connected to RT and Sputnik throughout Europe “effective immediately.”

It also blocked RT and Sputnik apps from its Play Store in Europe.

On Tuesday, Apple announced that it too would block RT and Sputnik from its App Store. But rather than simply block the apps in Europe as Google has, Apple blocked RT and Sputnik in every territory except Russia.