Dutch police used TomTom nav data to place speed traps

28 Apr 2011

The Dutch police used traffic information aggregated anonymously from users’ TomTom navigation devices to place speed traps where general areas of speeding were found.

According to Harold Goddijin, CEO of TomTom, when users grant permission to TomTom to collect travel time anonymously as they drive, the company aggregates this to use for purposes such as creating traffic information to route users around jams.

They also make this available to local governments and authorities to help them understand where congestion takes place and how to make roads safer.

However, it was discovered by Dutch news outlet AD that local police used this information to place speed traps in areas where speeding in general was found.

TomTom said it was unaware its information was used for these purposes and emphasised that all the data was transmitted on an anonymous basis, meaning that no individual’s speed data was identified.

“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,” said Goddijin.

TomTom also posted a video on YouTube of Goddijin speaking on this matter, where he clarified that the company “didn’t like” that the information was being used for this because their customers “didn’t like that” and that TomTom “will prevent this type of usage of their data in the future.”