TomTom Apologizes For Selling Speeding Data To Dutch Government

from the privacy? dept

TomTom, the troubled GPS navigation device maker, was forced to quickly apologize after news reports came out about how the company had sold aggregate data on driving habits it collected from the devices to the Dutch government, who then used that data to figure out where to set up speed traps and speed cameras. TomTom claims they thought the data would just be used for improving traffic safety, not for speed traps (though, I would imagine that some would claim that speed traps are a way to improve traffic safety). TomTom's CEO Harold Goddijn didn't exactly come off as convincing in saying:
"We don't like that because our customers don't like it... We will prevent that type of usage of our data in the future."
Of course, they could just not like it because it's intrusive. Then they might have thought about it before selling the data. And it's not clear how they can sell the data and only make sure that it's used for one purpose and not others.
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Filed Under: data, gps, netherlands, privacy, tracking
Companies: tomtom


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  1. identicon
    DCX2, 28 Apr 2011 @ 6:07pm

    Important points

    A few things that I think are important. The stories make it sound like TomTom was out to get individual motorists.

    1) No individual got a ticket because of the data TomTom sold. The aggregate traffic patterns were used to select different places for speed traps by one of the governments.

    2) TomTom's intention was to help increase efficiency, for instance by pointing out areas of congestion. This is not such a bad idea.

    I'm not saying it was right, or smart. I'm just saying that they aren't Sony.

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