A recently-patented Microsoft global positioning system (GPS) application for pedestrian smartphone users is drawing criticism that it will steer folks away from tough streets.

According to the patent documents, pedestrians face different obstacles when traveling than people traveling in a vehicle, including being more impacted by weather conditions and “unsafe” environments.

The plan is for a software app that will make use of information from several databases when planning a route for the walker, including past routes, preferences, and weather and crime statistics.

Despite the fact that the word “ghetto” was not a part of the patent paperwork, the program has been nicknamed the “Avoid the Ghetto” app.

According to syracuse.com, MSNBC’s Athima Chansanchai wrote: “It seems as though the phrase caught on and like a contagion, has infected and tainted the coverage of ‘Pedestrian route production.'”

This has led to cries of racism and economic disadvantage for minority neighborhoods. Dallas branch NAACP President Juanita Wallace told CBS, “I’m going to be up in arms about it if it happens. Can you imagine me not being able to go to Martin Luther King Boulevard. because my GPS says that’s a dangerous crime area? I can’t even imagine that.”

According to a variety of reports, people find the use of crime statistics problematic.
“It’s almost like gerrymandering. It’s stereotyping for sure and without a doubt, I can’t emphasize enough, it’s discriminatory. The hi-tech app will reinforce stereotypes all over the U.S.,” she said. “This type of technology is certainly going to pronounce and heighten it to some degree.”
Microsoft, according to CBS said they do not comment on “filed or awarded patents,” which leaves the information in the patent to stand on its own. The app has not yet been made available for sale.