German artist Simon Weckert (Simon Weckert) has forced Google Maps to display a virtual traffic jams on several streets of Berlin. For this, he went on the roadway with a trolley with 99 smartphone in navigation mode: the service found that many motorists driving on the street with low speed.
Modern navigation applications allow you to plot a route taking into account not only the location of streets, but also taking into account the situation on the roads: congestion, road works and other things. These data applications most often receive from their users: in active mode, devices do not only receive information from the server, but also transmit data about the location and speed of movement. If your application has a lot of drivers, the app gets a fairly accurate picture of the speed of vehicles throughout the city.
On the one hand, enables drivers to avoid jams, but this is a risk as data can be manipulated. The big services like Google Maps use algorithms to filter data and, for example, cut the data from pedestrians. As shown Weckert, these algorithms still can be fooled, and quite simple way, not requiring the skills of a programmer.
He used a small truck, putting it in a 99 smartphones (apparently the same model) with the Google Maps application running in the navigation mode. With this truck, he went through several streets of Berlin, parallel tracking the traffic situation in the service. It turned out that this number of smartphones with navigation in one place was enough to service took them like a lot of drivers standing in a stopper, and marked outside the corresponding color.
Many of the commenters under the post of the artist doubted the reality of the experiment. However, one commentator working in the team of developers of Google Maps, saidthat given his knowledge about how the service works, the experiment seems plausible. In addition, it is worth noting that in 2014, Israeli researchers were able to create a nonexistent reality tube in the Waze app using a botnet. The year before the service was bought by Google, so probably Google Maps uses some algorithms and data from Waze.
Google collects location data of users in different ways, not only during its service maps. Moreover, in 2017 the American journalists found outthat the company collects near the user cell towers, even if it is turned off geolocation, and drew from mobile SIM card. The company recognized this and stated that it will no longer collect data in this way.