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
    That Anonymous Coward, 28 Apr 2011 @ 6:28pm

    Re: Important points

    This data was provided to gain an alternative revenue stream with data that was "anonomized" to help with "congestion", the problem being it was then used to create speed traps that in turn was used to help try and ticket people who had the anonymous data collected from them.
    I do not think anyone feels they were singled out in that manner, but there is also no way to prove that some speed traps were not built to catch people who had data saying "I speed here often" sold.
    TomTom handed out data, they may or may not have actually informed the customers of this clearly, for one reported beneficial use and it was used in other ways.
    TomTom was clearly not concerned/aware that the general public would object to this sort of data farming of them, even after the other high profile "cases" of it being done by other industries.
    It appears they were more concerned with revenue and less concerned with "Will this really piss off our customers if they find out?" They got that answer quite clearly.
    Given the number of smart devices able to do the same thing in the market, having a "black eye" for selling off data and not showing how it was anonomized leaves questions for lots of consumers.
    There are different ways to try to make the data anonymous and the NetFlix competitions make is really clear some methods are not good enough.

    TomTom who it seems was having problems in the marketplace before, have just made their problems worse with consumers only remembering that TomTom sells data to outside groups.

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