Australian Police Warning: Apple Maps Can Kill You

By Khurram Aziz | Dec 11, 2012 09:28 AM EST

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As if Apple hasn't had enough bad publicity to deal with surrounding its Maps App for iO6; now police in Australia are warning iPhone owners not to rely on the mapping service to navigate because it could lead to life threatening situations.

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In a press release, Victoria police's acting senior sergeant Sharon Darcy said that inaccuracies in the app have led tourists miles away from their destination in the scorching temperatures of the Australian outback.

"Tests on the mapping system by police confirm the mapping systems lists Mildura in the middle of the Murray Sunset National Park, approximately 70km [45 miles] away from the actual location of Mildura," said Darcy, as reported by the BBC.

"Police are extremely concerned as there is no water supply within the park and temperatures can reach as high as 46[C], making this a potentially life-threatening issue."

Apple launched its new Maps App in September, along with its latest iPhone 5 smartphone and the revamped iOS 6 operating system.

In launching the app, Apple dropped its rival Google Maps from the iOS app store, however, almost immediately the new mapping service came in for complaints over inaccuracies.

The situation became so bad that Apple CEO Tim Cook was forced to issue a public apology on the company website and the incident led directly to the dismissal of Scott Forstall - the former senior vice president of iOS Software.

The company is still working to fix its issues, which, by looks of reports from Australian police, are still a long way from being resolved. In the meantime, Apple is advising its customers to install alternative mapping software, such as Nokia's recently launched HERE maps.

Google said it was in the final stages of launching a new iOS 6 version of its Google Maps which it hopes to submit to Apple soon for re-inclusion in the App Store.

Meanwhile, the warning from Victoria police comes as researchers at Carnegie Mellon University warned about newly discovered vulnerabilities in the world's Global Positioning System (GPS) which are essential for the functioning of all mapping software.

The research paper, "GPS Software Attacks", suggests that just $2,500 of equipment could be used to knock out 30% of GPS systems.

"Until GPS is secured, life and safety-critical applications that depend upon it are likely vulnerable to attack," says the paper.

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