April 27, 2011

TomTom's Traffic Data Helpd Dutch Police Set Speed Traps

File this under the "Whoops" category, TomTom unwittingly let their traffic data be used to find ideal locaitons for speed traps. The data is compiled from anonymous user data over time and layered to create live views of traffic congestion as well as historical speeds on roads by time of day so that they can predict more accurate travel times when you plug in a destination. They know what you know that traveling down that highway takes a lot longer during rush hour than it does on the weekend, let's say.

Well it appears that their data was sold to some traffic planners, and somehow along the way it was used to determine where a good spot might be to nab a few speeders.

TomTom has tripped over themselves trying to reassure the public of a few very basic things:

  1. All users opt into the Data Collection aspect of the TomTom service.   
  2. The police can't trace speeding GPS tracks back to a particular user - the data is collected anonymously.
  3. If you have a LIVE connected GPS, the same thing goes for you; anonymous data collection.
  4. TomTom didn't sell the data directly to the police, and will take steps in the future to make sure it doesn't happen again.
There's a short video that TomTom released on the subject. In the end, I guess if the police want information about speeding, or the whereabouts of a person, they could always call Apple or Google; they're collecting data that isn't anonymous.

Via Engadget and Thanks to Dan for sending this in.

Read More in: TomTom GPS News

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Posted by Scott Martin at April 27, 2011 8:07 PM

Recent Comments

Google tracking is opt-in and probably more anonymous than TomTom'.

Posted by: Hugo at April 27, 2011 11:55 PM
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