GPS-maker TomTom has had to apologize for selling speeding data gathered from consumers’ navigation devices to Dutch police, who used the info to set speed traps for drivers. The Amsterdam-based company says that it didn’t know that the cops would use the information for law enforcement, and that no personal information tied to specific drivers was shared with police.
CEO Harold Goddijn said the company has stopped the practice, and that it was sharing data in the interest of public safety:
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.
According to Goddjin, all data was collected anonymously, and customers could opt out of providing the information. With GPS sales falling, TomTom has said it is looking for other ways to bring in cash, and will continue selling traffic data to authorities, though the company says it will change its licensing agreements so that the information can’t be used to target consumers.