Florist convicted of hijacking Google Maps

A New Zealand florist found a good way of steering customers away from her competitors – she just altered their listings on Google Maps.

Kendra Drinkwater, 40, of Napier, North Island, admitted editing the details of six of her competitors on 100 occasions late last year.

She used false account names to change email addresses and phone numbers, transplanting some of the businesses to China, Canada and the UK.

Drinkwater claimed her behavior was an ‘addiction’.

She was convicted of accessing a computer system for dishonest gain – which carries a maximum seven years’ jail – but was sentenced to 100 hours of community service.

The judge said that while her actions had undoubtedly affected her competitors’ businesses, it was impossible to quantify the loss.