TomTom last week admitted that the Dutch police had access to its customers’ sat nav data. And though it wasn’t aware that this was used to set speed traps, should the police have its hands on our GPS data at all?
Just when you thought the whole online privacy and tracking issue was coming under some sort of control, along comes a story to stop you in your tracks.
Sat nav company TomTom was last week forced onto the defensive when a Dutch newspaper revealed that its customer-generated GPS data had been used by the Dutch police to set speed traps in order to catch speeding motorists.
The company soon issued a statement and video (embedded below) approaching these concerns. TomTom CEO Harold Goodijn stressed that offering your personal sat nav data is voluntary and that it’s also provided anonymously:
Now, I’m reading between the lines here, but it appears as though Goddijn is saying that TomTom sells its travel time data to help governments and local authorities identify black spots, reduce congestion and improve road safety. Isn’t that a laudable goal?
He also says that the company was unaware that the Dutch police used this data to put up speed cameras and set speed traps. And, thankfully, it ‘will make sure that this type of information is no longer used for this particular application’.
So, what do you think? Are you persuaded by Goddijn’s quite impassioned response, or will you stop using your TomTom and switch to a brand that hasn’t let its driver data fall into the hands of the police?
Perhaps even the British police have used TomTom’s data in the same way? The firm says that it can’t guarantee that the Dutch police was the only police force to do so. And let’s face it, with speed cameras in this country routinely snapping motorists for some misdemeanour or other, it wouldn’t surprise me in the slightest.