Google has temporarily disabled real-time information about traffic conditions in Israel and the Gaza Strip on its Google Maps and Waze applications at the request of the Israel Defense Forces (IDF), Bloomberg reported.
“As we have done previously in conflict situations and in response to the evolving situation in the region, we have temporarily disabled the ability to see live traffic conditions and busyness information out of consideration for the safety of local communities,” a Google spokesperson was quoted as saying by Bloomberg on Monday.
The news agency cited a person familiar with the matter as saying that the move had been requested by the IDF as live traffic data could show movements of Israeli troops.
The decision was taken ahead of Israel’s potential ground offensive in Gaza, the report said, adding that Google had similarly shut down live vehicle and foot traffic data after the start of the conflict between Russia and Ukraine last year.
On October 7, Palestinian movement Hamas launched a surprise large-scale rocket attack against Israel from the Gaza Strip. Israel launched retaliatory strikes and ordered a complete blockade of the Gaza Strip, home to more than 2 million people, cutting off supplies of water, food and fuel. The escalation of the conflict has resulted in thousands of people killed and injured on both sides.