Police purchase data from peeping TomTom

27th April 2011, Comments 0 comments

Dutch navigation systems producer TomTom indirectly supplies user information to police authorities for use in determining the location of roadside speed traps.

A spokesperson for TomTom expressed surprise about a report published in today’s daily , which alleged that information TomTom sells to an intermediary is then sold on to the police. “We didn’t realise that – it’s a bit of an unpleasant surprise. We have to agree what we actually think about it all,” he said.

The company’s terms and conditions stipulate that data gleaned from the sat nav systems can be sold to a third party. Motorists who have agreed to these terms share information through internet about their driving behaviour. “That way we can predict traffic jams with more accuracy. The data is sold to various parties, including council authorities. They can use it to help make decisions on building new roads.”

TomTom is the largest producer of navigation equipment for cars and mobile phones in Europe, but is behind Garmin in the US. It employs some 3,500 people and has offices in Europe, the US and Taiwan.

The Dutch concern published first-quarterly figures today, showing a sharp drop in profits compared to the same period last year. The company expects the overall result in 2011 will be disappointing. Share prices have also dropped by 4.2 percent since the announcement of its figures. TomTom is affected by increased competition from navigation services on smartphones, analysts say.

© Radio Netherlands Worldwide

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