TomTom GPS data used for speed traps

GPS manufacturer TomTom has apologised for sending its customers' user data to Dutch Police, which had used the information to set speed traps.

GPS manufacturer TomTom has apologised for sending its customers' user data to Dutch Police, which had used the information to set speed traps.

(Head in hands image by Johnny Magnusson, public domain)

TomTom said that it was looking to shore-up failing demand for GPS units with services revenue, including selling data on its customer's driving habits to governments.

But its chief executive officer Harold Goddijn said he had no knowledge that Dutch police were using the data to set radar traps.

"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," Goddijn said in a statement. "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."

In the message to customers, Goddijn said, however, that the "vast majority" of users had granted the company permission to collect data that is used to help create traffic information. "We also 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."

The company also said the data is anonymous and "can never" be traced to a device.

TomTom Australia has been contacted about whether the company also sells such services to Australian authorities, but the company had not responded at the time of writing.

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