TomTom GPS Sends Driver Information to Police and Government

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And that’s why I won’t be buying a GPS anytime soon.

Outrage over TomTom speed traps for motorists
TomTom Australia says it is planning to sell GPS data collected about its customers’ journeys to road authorities and private companies even after it was forced to apologise when that same data was used by Dutch authorities to set speed traps.

The revelations, revealed in The Australian Financial Review today, have caused outrage among privacy campaigners and lobby groups who believe it is now necessary for electronic devices to come with special stickers saying whether they are going to track your location and be sold to marketers.

But TomTom Australia’s vice-president of marketing, Chris Kearney, in a phone interview, rejected the privacy concerns and claims that TomTom was “tracking” users. He conceded TomTom was collecting real-time “timestamped GPS data” of users’ journeys but said there were no privacy risks because the data was decoupled from the individual users.

Your TomTom GPS does more than just tell you where to go.
Your TomTom GPS does more than just tell you where to go.

“It’s not useful on an individual basis – it’s only useful when aggregated,” Mr Kearney said.

Last month TomTom was heavily criticised for selling data to the Netherlands government, which used it to place speed traps and cameras in the most effective areas to catch motorists. Following public outrage, TomTom’s chief executive, Harry Goddijn, appeared on YouTube to apologise, saying he believed the data would be used to improve safety or relieve traffic bottlenecks.

Mr Kearney said TomTom was hoping to offer the data – which includes journey times, speeds and routes taken – to Australian organisations like the RTA and VicRoads in the second half of this year, although nothing had been confirmed. He said he would have to examine ways of preventing them from using it to set speed traps.

Mr Kearney said the data, which is already being sold by TomTom’s licensing arm in Europe and the US, would also be useful for marketers to see where cars slow down in order to optimise billboard placements. It could also be used by commercial property developers.

“It’s not active for Australia yet although we do have the base data,” he said.

The Australian Privacy Commissioner, Timothy Pilgrim, said companies that sell GPS devices should be very upfront about what they are going to do with information collected from the devices. The ability to opt-out should not be buried in the fine print of a lengthy privacy policy, he said.

“The Privacy Act does not prevent the on-selling of personal information but where this does happen it must be done in accordance with the Act,” said Pilgrim.

“Even though the type of data collected such as speed, travelling times etc. on its own may not be considered personal information, this type of activity does raise the issue of data aggregation where pieces of individual data can be put together to build up a profile.”

In the Financial Review’s story the Australian Privacy Foundation said it would be easy to trace the data back to individual customers, even if TomTom claimed it only used aggregated, anonymous data.

However, Mr Kearney rejected this and said it was impossible to trace it back to individuals. He added that users were asked for confirmation before the data was collected and could opt out at any time.

“A vast majority of TomTom users grant TomTom the permission [to]collect road speed data. In doing this they allow TomTom to better understand road congestion and to deliver a better navigation solution back to users,” he said.

The issue comes after Apple and Google faced heat over their practices of tracking smartphone users’ locations. However, virtually every portable device with the ability to get online – such as Amazon Kindle devices with 3G connectivity – are now capable of tracking user locations.

Data on users is now where the money is in the high-tech world – evidenced by the fact that data-rich companies such as Facebook are being valued at tens of billions of dollars.

“TomTom’s move is really alarming. You think you’re buying a device or using a service, but what you’re really doing is providing details about your life to a company that can then sell on the open market to the highest bidder,” Colin Jacobs of Electronic Frontiers Australia said.

Mr Jacobs questioned whether it was necessary for TomTom to sell user data to remain in business given that customers were already paying for its GPS devices and services.

“I’m starting to think that we’re going to need to label every electronic item with a special sticker saying whether it’s going to track your location and sell it to marketers or not,” he said.

David Vaile, executive director of the University of NSW’s Cyberspace Law and Policy Centre, called on TomTom to authorise an “independent technical analysis” of its data collection practices by an outside authority.

“This apparent abuse of trust and export of location data potentially breaches the Privacy Act,” he said.

Mr Vaile criticised companies’ terms of use statements, which “make their customer/owner/data subject agree to permit and authorise everything the service operator ever wants to do with their data and device (including future changes never originally notified)”.

“This only protects them if the customer knows what the operator is doing, and the operator is frank about it – you cannot authorise what you are not aware of,” he said.

“If TomTom have not fully disclosed what they intend to do (for instance, by implying wrongly that the location data is not to be resold; or what is to be resold is not ‘personal information’, in the sense that the user’s identity cannot reasonably be ascertained, when it can be in practice from various device or network tags, logs or metadata), then the use may be ‘unauthorised’, and if so this could potentially open the way to significant criminal liability.”

TomTom’s main rival, Garmin, said it tracked customers’ “location, speed and direction when the device is in use”, and the data was sent back to Garmin when users connected their device to their computer. However, Garmin said it did not sell the data to any other companies and users could opt out.

“The use of this data is limited to developing and providing Garmin customers with improved routing information only,” Garmin said.

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43 Comments on "TomTom GPS Sends Driver Information to Police and Government"

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stigelo
4 years 11 months ago

Hence the unquenchable appetite of those devil worshipping NWO contoll freaks to collect as much private data as possible, for example by equipping all future cell phones/gadgets with GPS…

5 years 16 days ago

Whether the information collected from the GPS is for data collection or aggregation, the owner needs to know and has the rights to disallow it.

5 years 17 days ago
If all they were doing was helping the police to write some more speeding tickets, it wouldn't be a huge deal, but this is obviously part of a much larger agenda that is the most evil and dangerous kind of social engineering. Little by little, people are exposed to it, and piece by piece they will come to accept it as "the new normal". People in most advanced countries have already been desensitized to being tracked and monitored, and I find that many people respond to news like this and the iPhone tracking and logging their every move in ways… Read more »
Dreamy
5 years 18 days ago
Saw something on Foxtel the other night which freaked me out as to the extent that we are all being watched. Firstly the camera's – there's 1 camera to every 10 ppl in America. Next the RFID chips – these are EVERYWHERE! in your GPS, Toll Scanners, new tyres when you buy a brand new vehicle, Iphones etc etc. But there are ways you can protect your privacy. For night time, put lead lights in your caps – night cameras won't be able to see you, they will only see a bright light.. don't buy the new flash gordon electronic… Read more »
bi
5 years 18 days ago

i can't believe there is a contraceptive that is injected in to your arm in a chip and women opt for this method. there was a big issue in the UK recently because some of the chips failed to excit in to the skin correctly and failed. guess they gottah practice getting it right some how….. so not so sure there would be an outwood sign on the skin as some one suggested above.

MindControlledPuppet
5 years 19 days ago

This is why I like VC. Social media articles aside you can really learn about things non-conspiracy going on around us.

Anonymous
5 years 19 days ago

Apple and Google are being brought to Capitol Hill over privacy issues, they may want to addf acebook to the list.

5 years 16 days ago

The senators are worried, which is a relief.

The DOJ, on the other hand…love it, and want more.

NOW I'm worried.

5 years 19 days ago
I've been hearing commercials from certain insurance companies offering reduced rates for drivers. In return you must put a computer in your car that records how (and how much) you drive. (the idea being that if you prove to be safer than "the mean," you get cheaper insurance) – – – – – – – – – – Fits the cycle perfectly. First we get the "criminal/necessary" uses – remember the stuff on Michigan police "voluntarily" siphoning the information from the cell phones? We now know it's not just that. And, of course, it comes from earlier work on criminals… Read more »
monknickers
5 years 20 days ago
I happen to own a TomTom. I noticed it could track your speed while on a trip. A little eerie. While they're no doubt useful, I prefer to use a map and have several in my car at all times. Only for trips. I don't mind collecting the data to create speed traps (speeding kills, after all) and I guess knowing where you last were could help you out if you got in trouble far from home, but I know there'd be much more to it than just that and it creeps me out. Why would the government need to… Read more »
5 years 20 days ago

Honestly, if I could drive without a GPS, I would…but I have no other way of knowing where anything is. I just always have failed at directions…I can't look at street signs, I recognize everything by what it's next to.

If I'm going somewhere new, I have nothing to go by so I have to use a GPS.

Fly
5 years 20 days ago

did you see at the end the clock turn to 111???!!!

Firebrand
5 years 20 days ago

People do NOT need to use these electronic gadgets as they consume life and time needlessly, are designed to collect information and location data on your personal movements (iPhone4 as VC pointed out and that Rabbit thing from http://www.karotz.com) and have nefarious uses.

Best thing to do is get a non-GPS phone, use a map, only use the internet for minimal things and basically switch off the TV.

chark
5 years 20 days ago

well, Yah duh

5 years 21 days ago

That's why I've started keeping myself around the speed limit. Who knows what the electronics and Computers in the cars are keeping track of…

zuul
5 years 20 days ago

I guess the days are almost over for things like this:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZcJVW49723I

There will be no reasoning in the future but enforcement only. That is what will disappear in training of the future with reliance on judgement coming from computers. That's when you'll have situations like this:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RMV8TjbvXx4

Swat following orders from a computer like HAL 9000

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4xMz9jBwdkE
Or a glitch that can not be corrected because no human is behind the controls for understanding

lu
5 years 21 days ago

Fml my girl just brought me a tom tomf

Maranatha!
5 years 21 days ago

I prefer to keep it simple.

I'm not a fan of all this advanced technology. Society has a way of making you feel, as though, you need the latest gadget that's out there.

It's gotten ridiculous.

Jianei
5 years 21 days ago

Yes… I know what you mean. Shoving Apple Commercials down our throats, "If you don't have a Iphone…Well you don't have a Iphone." 😛 Waste of money.

zuul
5 years 21 days ago
Just another gadget. These recorders are at least voluntary, you have to buy it for the car. Many of the newer cars already have this hardwired in and even have the blackbox. Cell phones, it's everywhere- Like the lyrics in this 2003 song "we want your soul" by adam Freeland= Everything starts out voluntary and innocent but later progresses to mandatory with the only option of not fitting in. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XvwK-3cQ6gE "Your cellphone, your wallet, your time, your ideas No barcode, no party, no iodine, no beers your bankcard, your license, your thoughts, your fears no simcard, no disco, no photo,… Read more »
Sarah Connor
5 years 19 days ago

That is a good song zuul – have you seen the video that 911essentials.com put together with it???

It covers everything we have, and are experiencing, and then some……stimulation overload!!!! But good nonetheless. I wish they would update it through the Obama administration since there is no shortage of material on the matter…….
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TYD-HYkf12U
quote: "This reveals what 911 catalyzed, and more importantly what it's distracting even the truth seekers from acknowledging. This is a crash course in the bitter truth of the state of our society, government and the technological system that's beyond even Hitler's own wet dream."

Sarah Connor
5 years 19 days ago

I didn't realize they broke it into 2 parts….be sure to watch them both if you choose to. Whoosie.

WOW
5 years 21 days ago

This is why I have a map in my car! If I need it, I pull it out and look at it! lol

Jianei
5 years 21 days ago

So basically this is a time-stamping-all-seeing-eye-device? Dang…We have no privacy at all. This is why you do not get comfy with using electronic devices to help you with your everyday life. This is how they control you– through Technology. By making it a NECESSITY for you to have and make a part of you…

Zuul
5 years 20 days ago
I agree 100% with what your saying. It will get to the point where you will have to choose to be in the New World Order system, or you will not be able to function in 'civilized society'. In the USA- It is almost impossible to function without a credit card- You have to have had debt in order to have a credity score. (see the insanity of this system) Most new credit cards are coming out with RFID chips. There are stores experimenting with reading RFID so they know who you are when you walk in the store, how… Read more »
Faithful
5 years 21 days ago

Wow! There is no end to the lengthes they go to monitor us..

O/T 10 year anniversary 9/11 is 9/11/11 9+1+1+1+1=13

add that to them saying documents were found in Bin Laden's compound plotting attacks on that day. That's the set-up warning. Sounds like they already have something in place for that day..

Numbers?
5 years 20 days ago

I am not that familiar with numerology, but shouldn't it be 11/09/2011 —day/month/year and that would add up to 2021 and that reversed would be 1202. I get lost as to when you break up numbers from single digit to double digit, when to add and subtract, when to change order etc. Where are the rules for numerology?

Yomael
5 years 19 days ago
The formula in the Illuminati science of Numerology for reducing calendar dates to a single digit number is as follows; day/month/year – (example)18-11-2011. The first step we take is to add 1+8 which reduces to the single number 9. We do not reduce number 11 to a single number because it is a master number (11-22-33-44-55,etc,.) Next we add number 9 to the number 11 to arrive at the number 20, a non-master number which can be further reduced using our formula to arrive at the number 2 (1+8=9+11=20=2+0=2). Now we add the next number in the series which is… Read more »
chuklz da juggalo
5 years 21 days ago

hes prolly alive and i bet the gov just says they founds plans

stacy-nyc
5 years 17 days ago

nah he died of cancer a few yrs ago…

VC advocate
5 years 21 days ago

Whose to tell that they don't have these tracking devices in the cars already(not necessarily GPS), even the very product that u buy at your regular store or supermarket. Maybe it's far fetched but anything is possible. Look at what knowledge has done to us all, acquired by the wrong group of people and it spells D.O.O.M for us. The lord is coming soon.

civ
3 years 5 months ago

In the newer model cars they have "black boxes" that actually do the same thing that has recently been publicized…a tiny bit!!!

23
5 years 21 days ago

What about the plastic strips in new bills that can supposedly can tell how much money you have on you and how much you spend. Ive also heard that there is some RFID chips in different types of clothing and the excuse for that one is that it is for inventory what a bunch of bullshit. And Most newer models of cars have low-jacks.

tat
5 years 19 days ago

ive been in the fashion industry since 1996 and ive never heard of this. reference link would be enlightening though…

5 years 21 days ago

only allah should be able to see what were are doin.

Joyous
5 years 15 days ago
since "allah" is fictional, your point is moot. there is only one true living GOD, JEHOVAH, blessed be His Holy Name; and He IS in control of all, every minute detail. yes, even of you typing your comment. 😀 get to know Jesus, the King of Kings and LORD of Lords, and you will have no fear. The LORD is on my side, I will not fear: what can man do unto me? (Psalm 118:6) Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to… Read more »
Sovay
5 years 6 days ago

That's a disrespectful way to start a debate. Allah is what you call God, to Muslim's that's just one of his names. Make your mind up, is Jesus god or a prophet?

Anyway, I wish people would actually stop relying completely on god while waiting for something to happen. You're supposed to bring about change (with, if you believe, the help of god), not sit about waiting for a miracle. Though it would be nice.

josh
5 years 21 days ago

I guess they can't wait for the microchip to be released, so they're taking their move already.

Name (required)
5 years 21 days ago

the gps company's including an exclusion for the government's abiltity to use that particular information in that particular way does not necessarily prevent the government from doing so anyway. it might just be a way for the gps company to blame another party, here, the government, when its information is used in that particular way.

Black Pearl
5 years 21 days ago

Not surprised!

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