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Friday April 29, 2011 10:08 am

TomTom apologizes for selling your traffic data to law enforcement


Posted by Andru Edwards - Categories: Corporate News, GPS


tomtom traffic data

TomTom has apologized for selling user data from personal navigation devices to police.

It wasn't exactly a surprise. When Netherlands-based TomTom reported weak first quarter earnings earlier this year, it said it would try to supplement earnings through certain methods like selling traffic data to governments.

But when Dutch newspaper Algemeen Dagblad revealed that the information was obtained by Dutch police, who used it set targeted speed traps, people got upset.

But TomTom CEO Harold Goddijn said the company only had the best of intentions, because the company believes it "can help make roads safer and less congested."


"We are now aware that the police have used traffic information that you have helped to create to place speed cameras at dangerous locations where the average speed is higher than the legally allowed speed limit," he said in a mea culpa emailed to customers. "We are aware a lot of our customers do not like the idea and we will look at if we should allow this type of usage."

Goddijn said the data is collected anonymously and users have the choice to opt in or out at any time. The historical data is also collected in order to help give drivers the "fastest route available" and to "make roads flow more efficiently and safer."

Apple also said this week that it is tracking user data to create a 'crowd-sourced traffic database.' That admission was buried inside a statement Apple issued, regarding the allegations that the iPhone stores user location data. Similar to TomTom, Apple has been on the receiving end of customer backlash this week for how it deals with user data.

This article, written by Leslie Horn, originally appeared on PCMag.com and is republished on Gear Live with the permission of Ziff Davis, Inc.

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