We already know that your iPhone secretly records your geolocation data, but it’s largely keeping this information between it and your computer. Such does not appear to be the case with TomTom personal GPS navigation devices.
The Dutch company is apparently taking all of that GPS-laden data from the navigation devices and turning them over to police and other local authorities for a profit. The good news is that the data is completely anonymous, but you have to realize that they’ve been selling this data without customer permission (or knowledge, for that matter). That can’t be good. Apparently, it only affects customers in the Netherlands too.
“When you connect your TomTom to a computer we aggregate this information and use it for a variety of applications, most importantly to create high quality traffic information and to route you around traffic jams. 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.…
“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.”
Yes, I understand that TomTom’s business might be hurting as more people turn to their smartphones for navigation rather than these standalone devices, but going behind their back to sell this aggregate data is a big no-no in my books. For shame. Now it makes you wonder if others, like Garmin and Magellan, are getting in on the data-selling business too.