Tom Tom Used by Dutch Police to Track Motorists and Position Speed Traps

Update: see previous post February 27, 2011 Man Used “My Tracks” (GPS System) by Google to Mount Defence to Speeding Ticket

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TomTom has issued a statement after it was revealed that police in Holland are using historical speed data, captured by its savnav devices, as a guide for positioning speed traps.

Devices like the Go LIVE 1000 collect speed information automatically and backs it up to a TomTom database, which allows the company to improve the service the dashboard companion can offer.

TomTom also makes the database available to authorities for safety and logistic purposes, but says it was unaware that the police were using it in this way and promises to listen to customer concerns.

The statement reads: “We make this information available to local governments and authorities.

“It helps them to better understand where congestion takes place, where to build new roads and how to make roads safer.”

Customers

TomTom continues: “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.

“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.”

Satnavs like TomTom have traditionally informed drivers of where speed cameras are located, so news that speed information of drivers could be used in this way is a strange reversal of roles.

TomTom also assured customers that any information it gathers is anonymous and can never be traced back to drivers, so there’s no need to worry about a speed ticket coming through your door.

TomTom HD Live Traffic ® is available in 18 countries (doesn’t include Canada). These are the countries it is available in:

Austria
Belgium
Denmark
Finland
France
Germany
Ireland
Italy
Netherlands
New Zealand
Norway
Portugal
South Africa
Spain
Sweden
Switzerland
United Kingdom
United States

APPLE GATHERING LOCATION DATA

Apple has finally admitted that it has indeed been gathering location data, but it isn’t tracking you personally; the company claims it is using the ‘anonymous’ data to build a crowd-sourced traffic database.

This sounds suspiciously similar to the kinds of services offered by Android Maps’ turn-by-turn navigation services and TomTom, which is no doubt quaking in its boots at the thought of competing directly with Apple.

Apple’s Q&A states, “Apple is now collecting anonymous traffic data to build a crowd-sourced traffic database with the goal of providing iPhone users an improved traffic service in the next couple of years.”

Currently the iPhone maps service offers directions with approximate timings based on the traffic on your route, but doesn’t offer much more jam-based information than that.

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