"Avoid ghetto" app raises eyebrows

Microsoft, with its sign in Redmond seen here, is raising eyebrows with a recent patent application.

Finding ways to stand out in the quickly changing technology landscape can be very difficult.

Now, some believe Microsoft is standing out for the wrong reasons.

The technology giant recently received approval for a GPS patent that some have dubbed the "avoid ghetto" app, according to published reports.

Using crime statistics from the surrounding areas, the app would reportedly navigate people around these so-called dangerous places.

"As a pedestrian travels, various difficulties can be encountered, such as traveling through an unsafe neighborhood or being in an open area that is subject to harsh temperatures," said
Microsoft's official filing with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, as quoted by the International Business Times. "A route can be developed for a person taking into account factors that specifically affect a pedestrian. Moreover, the route can alter as a situation of a user changes; for instance, if a user wants to add a stop along a route."

The "avoid ghetto" feature w

ould become available on future Windows phones

, reports say


"It's pretty appalling," Sarah E. Chinn, author of Technology and the Logic of American Racism, told AOL. "Of course, an application like this defines crime pretty narrowly, since all crimes happen in all kinds of neighborhoods. I can't imagine that there aren't perpetrators of domestic violence, petty and insignificant drug possession, fraud, theft, and rape in every area."

What do you think of the "avoid ghetto" app? Inappropriate, helpful or both? Sound off below and on our WNWO Facebook page.