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GPS Maker TomTom Submits Your Speed Data To Police

timothy posted more than 3 years ago | from the put-your-speed-trap-riiiiight-here dept.

Government 422

An anonymous reader writes "The GPS systems in TomTom's Live range all feature built-in 3G data cards, which feed location and route information back to a central server. According to CNET, this data, along with users' speed information, is being made available to local governments and the police." From the article: "Knowing the cops can see where you're driving and how fast you're going is eye-opening stuff, but TomTom says the data is anonymous and can never be traced back to an individual user or device. Ordinarily, we'd be reassured by this, but we recall Apple saying something similar before the location-tracking excrement hit the phone-carrying fan."

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If you installed a printer on it (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35965848)

Then it could print out speeding tickets as you go!

Also automatic shock collars for when crimes are committed.

Apple apologist (1, Troll)

Dynetrekk (1607735) | more than 3 years ago | (#35965854)

I am an apple apologist, I guess. The reason is that I see the fact that Apple stores your location data on your cell phone when you are using their _location_ services as less serious than TomTom _giving_away_ your data to the authorities on a general basis, with no warrant or anything of the sort. Funny thing is, I don't even have an iPhone myself, and even I think that analogy fails pretty miserably.

Re:Apple apologist (1)

clang_jangle (975789) | more than 3 years ago | (#35966016)

I can see how providing anonymized data to your local and/or federal DOT could be seen as a public safety benefit and thus a public service. But it should be opt-in for the end user, not automatic and silent.

Re:Apple apologist (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35966146)

Anonymous data feed like this is a public safety service. It allows police to deploy to areas with excess speeding.

Having this as an opt-in service is wrong. Then only people that do not speed would opt-in. Personally, I view this development as a positive for safety on the roads - roads where 10s of thousands die each year where both speed and DUI are major contributors.

There are much more problematic technology deployed today than tracking how fast cars are going down the road. Think warantless wiretaps, ability to turn any cell phone into listening device (even when it is OFF), tracking of individuals, CCTV cameras everywhere, full body x-ray scanners at aiports and now getting deployed elsewhere, etc. etc.

The chance of you dying due to a car crash in your life is 1%! That's a huge number when compared to any other threat where a lot more money is thrown around and where privacy is trampled.

Re:Apple apologist (2)

karnal (22275) | more than 3 years ago | (#35966236)

It should actually allow the area to consider raising the speed limit. Just sending police out sounds like a kneejerk reaction. OMG YOU ARE SPEEDING!!!

The chance of you dying in your life is 100%.... may as well live a little.

Re:Apple apologist (3, Insightful)

UncleTogie (1004853) | more than 3 years ago | (#35966284)

Personally, I view this development as a positive for safety on the roads - roads where 10s of thousands die each year where both speed and DUI are major contributors.

Sure, DUIs are unsafe, but speed by itself isn't a killer... {Yes, you said "contributed", I know...}

Speeding inappropriately is what kills people. The Autobahn {and German driving in general} is an example of what we should have here.

Re:Apple apologist (1)

mysidia (191772) | more than 3 years ago | (#35966392)

Sure, DUIs are unsafe, but speed by itself isn't a killer... {Yes, you said "contributed", I know...}

I would be very pleased to hear of Tomtoms somehow detecting DUIs and reporting them 'anonymously' in real-time with precise GPS coordinates, and (preferably) pictures from front, rear, an outbound cameras.

But I don't think the drivers driving while drunk would appreciate that Tomtom feature

Re:Apple apologist (2)

PIBM (588930) | more than 3 years ago | (#35966220)

It's already an opt-in service.

Re:Apple apologist (1)

Sarius64 (880298) | more than 3 years ago | (#35966350)

Perhaps TomTom could follow police around and record video of them conducting their daily work and then post it anonymously for the public to develop safety assurances about police work?

Re:Apple apologist (1)

Intron (870560) | more than 3 years ago | (#35966420)

Here. Hold this diode.

It's funny how these things only work in one direction, isn't it?

Re:Apple apologist (4, Insightful)

icebike (68054) | more than 3 years ago | (#35966048)

I am an apple apologist, I guess. The reason is that I see the fact that Apple stores your location data on your cell phone when you are using their _location_ services as less serious than TomTom _giving_away_ your data to the authorities on a general basis, with no warrant or anything of the sort. Funny thing is, I don't even have an iPhone myself, and even I think that analogy fails pretty miserably.

I couldn't agree more. Apple simple created a security weakness on your phone and on your own computer, but didn't (as far as anyone has shown) upload this data to anyone.

TomTom has just joined my permanent Do Not Buy list. Their allegations that it can't be tracked ring hollow.

Re:Apple apologist (1, Informative)

Dynetrekk (1607735) | more than 3 years ago | (#35966174)

TomTom was already on my no-buy list for other reasons. E.g, when you buy a new map, the old one is deleted and you have to re-buy it. Also, maps are more expensive than devices, which obviously is equivalent to environmental crime. TomTom is one of those companies that just screw you over. But I do have to say, the GPS unit I have, does work pretty nicely, although the processing power of the thing is abysmal - you see it when you compute long routes and compare to the iPhone version.

Re:Apple apologist (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35966052)

You're ok with Apple storing your specific location information for authorities to read but you're not ok with TomTom giving anonymous data on speeds & location to authorities?

You're the kind of idiot that Apple loves. Quick buy an Iphone or 3.

Re:Apple apologist (0)

Low Ranked Craig (1327799) | more than 3 years ago | (#35966290)

No. But that's not what they do. THey don't store your "specific location" they store the cell towers and wifi hotspots your phone has been in communication with. That's all. They're not tracking you.

Who's the idiot? The person who doesn't care because they're not being tracked, or the person who doesn't know what the fuck they're talking about (you)

Re:Apple apologist (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35966066)

You are, because even if you turned off location services it was still capturing the data. Given, they're addressing it in the next iOS update, but that's only because this whole mess went public. If it hadn't been discovered, your iDevice would still be happily building a db of your location data whether you wanted it to or not.

Re:Apple apologist (1, Troll)

node 3 (115640) | more than 3 years ago | (#35966308)

Um, yeah, that's how bugs work. They generally don't get fixed until they are discovered.

Re:Apple apologist (1, Insightful)

Entropius (188861) | more than 3 years ago | (#35966404)

That's also how shenanigans work -- they're not stopped until they are discovered.

Re:Apple apologist (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35966096)

while i am not ok with TomTom doing this (at the very least without telling you). i do understand that the info could be very good for police officers.

it could be used to find roads that are frequently speeded through and make them put a speedbump or something. on the other hand it should also help them find roads that maybe could use a higher speed limit.

on the other hand, maybe its not the police they have to send this to but some road department whatever.

Why, oh why? (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35965856)

Dear TomTom,

Why would you go and do a stupid thing like this? I loved your products, but I will purchase them no more.

So I read the Article... (2)

SerpentMage (13390) | more than 3 years ago | (#35965866)

"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," he says.

Read more: http://crave.cnet.co.uk/cartech/tomtom-admits-to-sending-your-routes-and-speed-information-to-the-police-50003618/#ixzz1KqGfyhmm [cnet.co.uk]

cough *BS* cough They are using it to make more money and just place the cameras where the probability is higher to make money! Thanks TOM TOM your company was going downhill, but it will REALLY go downhill now!

Re:So I read the Article... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35965912)

Agreed. The police already know where the dangerous locations are because accidents get reported there. All this data shows is where people are safely and routinely exceeding the posted limit.

Re:So I read the Article... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35966012)

If you think that speed limits are too low in some areas and should be changed, speak to your congressman. It's not the job of the police to determine what the speed limit should be, it's their job to enforce what it is.

Re:So I read the Article... (2)

0123456 (636235) | more than 3 years ago | (#35966114)

If you think that speed limits are too low in some areas and should be changed, speak to your congressman.

Oh yeah, that will totally work.

Re:So I read the Article... (0)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 3 years ago | (#35966172)

Speed limits should be guidelines first off, and secondly they are writing tickets for victimless crimes, sure, it might be their job to enforce the law, but enforce the important stuff, like, oh I don't know, robbery, murder, rape, etc. And if there isn't enough crime to warrant that many police officers, get rid of some of them! The speed limits and other things should be guidelines to reduce accidents and reckless driving. -That- is what should be ticketed, not "speeding" or "distracted driving" or whatever.

The fact is, the vast majority of police officers are useless bums who can't get over the fact that there isn't enough real crime in most areas to be needed. Others simply realize that its a lot easier to stop people who were going safely on the road than it is to stop people from harming others.

Re:So I read the Article... (1)

INT_QRK (1043164) | more than 3 years ago | (#35966402)

Not just that; but I would not be surprised if accidents do not go up at camera locations. I've noticed that in the VA-DC-MD area intersections with red light cameras tend to have extremely short yellow cycles. This results in motorists either slamming on the brakes at the yellow, or the accelerator to clear the intersection in a panic. Similarly, motorists tend to brakes suddenly on detecting any device array that appears to be speed trap. I wonder how may sudden brake incidents occur during lightening storms as lightening flashing are mistaken for camera strobes. In DC, speed traps usually follow the frequent random speed limit changes. Lets call a spade a spade. These devices have nothing to do with public safety. They are simply taxes in disguise.

Re:So I read the Article... (0)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | more than 3 years ago | (#35965918)

Isn't that exactly the same thing? If you want to make money, you place cameras where people most often speed. If you want to prevent high-speed accidents... just the same.

Re:So I read the Article... (4, Insightful)

smelch (1988698) | more than 3 years ago | (#35965976)

No, not at all. You stop accidents where accidents happen. Speeding does not always mean crashing. Most people are perfectly capable of controlling their vehicle and allowing sufficient space beyond the ridiculously low limits.

Re:So I read the Article... (5, Insightful)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 3 years ago | (#35966328)

Most people are perfectly capable of controlling their vehicle and allowing sufficient space beyond the ridiculously low limits.

Where do you live? MOST places I've driven, the only safe speed would be zero. Really, there are enormous numbers of drivers who have fundamental issues with parking lots, much less the actual roadway.

Re:So I read the Article... (1)

silanea (1241518) | more than 3 years ago | (#35966412)

[...] Most people are perfectly capable of controlling their vehicle and allowing sufficient space beyond the ridiculously low limits.

Apparently I have yet to encounter most people on the road. I always get the deranged suicidal inconsiderate moronic minority that is out to get me killed by speeding beyond their brakes' physical limitations, not keeping even a semblance of space, changing lanes at a whim with no use of either the indicator or the rear view mirror and multitasking so fervently I can hardly tell if they are driving at all or if they have an autopilot.

Re:So I read the Article... (4, Insightful)

vikisonline (1917814) | more than 3 years ago | (#35966010)

No. Those cameras cause accidents. Speeding is not a danger. People noticing the cameras and ramming their brakes on is.

Re:So I read the Article... (3, Interesting)

0123456 (636235) | more than 3 years ago | (#35966144)

No. Those cameras cause accidents. Speeding is not a danger. People noticing the cameras and ramming their brakes on is.

I have fond memories of the idiot who slammed their brakes on in front of me to haul down to 50mph on seeing a speed camera, even though we were already driving at 70mph in a 70mph speed limit.

Fortunately I drive at a safe distance from the car in front; if I'd been an idiot tailgater I'd have gone straight into the back of them.

Re:So I read the Article... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35966414)

No. Those cameras cause accidents. Speeding is not a danger. People noticing the cameras and ramming their brakes on is.

Wow, that is the most retarded statement I have ever read!! Congrats!!

If you cannot stop because someone in front is slowing down, then YOU ARE NOT IN CONTROL OF YOUR VEHICLE!! Get the fucking idea through your very very thick skull.

Re:So I read the Article... (5, Insightful)

Attila Dimedici (1036002) | more than 3 years ago | (#35966072)

Isn't that exactly the same thing? If you want to make money, you place cameras where people most often speed. If you want to prevent high-speed accidents... just the same.

No, it isn't. If you want to make money, you place cameras where people most often speed. If you want to prevent high speed accidents, you assign police officers to patrol areas where people drive dangerously. Speed ticket cameras do not cause people to slow down (or at least they take a significant amount of time to do so). The presence of police officers always results in people slowing down. Additionally, areas where the police are frequently visible have significantly slower traffic than areas where the police are rarely seen.

Re:So I read the Article... (4, Insightful)

mldi (1598123) | more than 3 years ago | (#35966076)

Not the same. For example, a straight non-residential road with an unusually low speed limit will get tons of speeders, but that wouldn't translate to more high-speed accidents. It just means the limit posted is too low relative to similar roads.

Re:So I read the Article... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35966276)

If you want to prevent high-speed accidents you rebuild the road for driving that speed.

Re:So I read the Article... (1)

Riceballsan (816702) | more than 3 years ago | (#35966340)

Speeding and accidents have only sometimes are connected. People most often are speeding when, 1. the road is long, straight and very few hazards are around. 2. Speed limit changes, in my area speed traps are almost all shortly after major drops in the limits, IE 60 down to 45 etc... Cops eat that for lunch and get steady stream of tickets around there from people who didn't see the sign or couldn't slow down fast enough. Accidents yeah they do happen around there, usually from one person slowing down quickly after noting an officer ahead and getting rear ended by the guy behind him when slowing down. If the areas were actually dangerous because of accidents being caused by people speeding, the police would have access to the accident reports.

Re:So I read the Article... (1)

memnock (466995) | more than 3 years ago | (#35966374)

TomTom might not give your identity with the data, but I don't think it'd be hard to use cameras in the areas of the locations that Tomtom reveals to see who is there.

Re:So I read the Article... (0)

Gaygirlie (1657131) | more than 3 years ago | (#35966394)

"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," he says.

Read more: http://crave.cnet.co.uk/cartech/tomtom-admits-to-sending-your-routes-and-speed-information-to-the-police-50003618/#ixzz1KqGfyhmm [cnet.co.uk]

cough *BS* cough They are using it to make more money and just place the cameras where the probability is higher to make money! Thanks TOM TOM your company was going downhill, but it will REALLY go downhill now!

Personally I think it's just great what they're doing. People are speeding like crazy, often talking on the phone at the same time, and then every now and then someone dies. Just a month or two ago my friend's uncle got killed in an accident where someone thought he was a real speed demon and ended up crashing on the aforementioned uncle's car. My car has been crashed into too, just two weeks ago, and just today a 15-year old girl got killed because of someone speeding.

Now, I know you'll come up and say "But I can drive faster than the limits say and stil be perfectly safe" but guess what? That's what all the others are saying too! I only wish TomTom would directly report speeders to the police, atleast that'd take them out of the roads for a while.

I keep naively hoping that at some point (2)

Presto Vivace (882157) | more than 3 years ago | (#35965870)

our Galtian overlords would work out that privacy is an aspect of security and that pervasive surveillance is an inherent security vulnerability. sigh

Re:I keep naively hoping that at some point (1)

dadioflex (854298) | more than 3 years ago | (#35966074)

If everybody was constantly under surveillance would crime go up or down? vs If everybody was constantly unsupervised and allowed to keep all their movements secret, didn't have to answer questions they didn't want to or submit any of their biometric data to the authorities would crime go up or down? Of course when they outlaw privacy, only the outlaws will HAVE privacy. But on the downside the outlaws won't have iPhones or GPS or Facebook accounts, so they won't be COOL. Swings and roundabouts, my friend, swings and roundabouts...

Trust (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35965876)

TomTom says the data is anonymous and can never be traced back to an individual user or device

Companies of this size don't lie, what's the problem?

What a week.... (0)

Abstrackt (609015) | more than 3 years ago | (#35965882)

A lot of big companies are finding themselves in compromising positions this week: first Sony and Apple, now TomTom. I almost feel sorry for Apple, this is going to make explaining themselves a lot harder.

Re:What a week.... (1)

peragrin (659227) | more than 3 years ago | (#35965998)

Of course they are. Data covering specific area's of inquiry is extremely valuable. Company's only exist to make money, everything else is a distant 5th or 10th concern.

doesn't matter if it is polluting water, or giving away information on their customers, as long as it either makes money or is cheaper than the alternatives companies will do it. That is why polluters only respond to threats of massive fines. it suddenly becomes cheaper to do things right.

Selling their data is like selling anything else. you have a product that someone wants and can make you money. This won't stop until the governments start creating fines for data privacy breaches.

Real Software security won't take effect until the losses incurred by said breaches exceeds the costs of actually securing the software properly the first time.

Re:What a week.... (2)

Phleg (523632) | more than 3 years ago | (#35966032)

Repeat after me: the location database on your iPhone is not, and is not under reasonable suspiction of having ever been sent to Apple.

Re:What a week.... (1)

Phleg (523632) | more than 3 years ago | (#35966056)

s/suspiction/suspicion/

Re:What a week.... (2)

countertrolling (1585477) | more than 3 years ago | (#35966178)

I see no reason to believe that.

Re:What a week.... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35966234)

Go fuck yourself. Better yet go fuck Steve Jobs, that cancer ridden piece of shit probably turns you on.

I can see it now... (3, Funny)

orthancstone (665890) | more than 3 years ago | (#35965884)

This speed trap is brought to you by TomTom.

A great disturbance in market forces... (1)

tripleevenfall (1990004) | more than 3 years ago | (#35965886)

as if millions of shareholders suddenly cried out in terror and were suddenly silenced.

Re:A great disturbance in market forces... (2)

MozeeToby (1163751) | more than 3 years ago | (#35965966)

Ha, you overestimate [google.com] how much people care, investors and customers alike.

TomTom is down a whopping 0.8% on the day and over the past 5 days it's up 1.2%. There was a large selloff yesterday morning (presumably the information first became public overnight?) but the price quickly recovered.

I can see it coming... (1)

Super Dave Osbourne (688888) | more than 3 years ago | (#35965894)

where doing business at all in the US will require that all consumer data be stored and then anal-ized and offered to the Police State we now live. Its going to get really messy when the union itself stops producing KY to make the process just a little more painful than it already is... Withdraw-pleasure-center syndrome coming.

Gotta get me one of those! (1)

erroneus (253617) | more than 3 years ago | (#35965896)

There must be a way to use the 3G data card in there to do some interesting things. And as I understand it, mobile networks (like all wireless networks) require unique identifiers and all manner of other things... things which do trace back to identity. So this claim of being anonymous is simply wrong, misleading and "almost" a lie.

Still... people pay for the privilege.

Re:Gotta get me one of those! (1)

smelch (1988698) | more than 3 years ago | (#35966020)

ERRONEOUS! Data TomTom has != data they give to police.

Re:Gotta get me one of those! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35966390)

As far as you know... DUN DUN DUN

For those who won't RTFA; (5, Informative)

fridaynightsmoke (1589903) | more than 3 years ago | (#35965900)

The story is that the data was used by Dutch police to determine where to set up speed traps. The data was NOT used to go after any TomTom users for speeding.

It's still a somewhat dastardly tactic, but not quite what people on here are seeing it to be.

Re:For those who won't RTFA; (1)

tripleevenfall (1990004) | more than 3 years ago | (#35965926)

As with the iPhone and Android messes, the data IS NOT CURRENTLY used to identify users. (but it could be at the flip of a switch, and by the way, the company says they have the right to do this if they want, because you agreed to the EULATOSetc.)

Re:For those who won't RTFA; (2)

Korveck (1145695) | more than 3 years ago | (#35966042)

It does not change the fact that TomTom is secretly submitting data collected from its customers to the police for a profit. I don't want the bottom line of privacy to be "as long as your name does not appear on it, it is fine".

Re:For those who won't RTFA; (1)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 3 years ago | (#35966212)

Does it matter if they are tracking who it is or not? It would be one thing if police officers, police departments and other government agencies weren't greedy and they would use this data to show that the speed limit should be increased, but it won't be used this way. You and I both know that all this will be used to do is make money for the police force to justify its existence and expansion in low crime areas.

Re:For those who won't RTFA; (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35966396)

I agree. And isn't this good thing? This way the police don't need to waste money on placing speed cameras in locations where no speeding occurs, while at the same time maybe hinting them at novel locations. Making the roads safer and wasting less taxpayer's euros.

I don't think it would matter even if they could (0)

citoxE (1799926) | more than 3 years ago | (#35965902)

First off, at least in the United States, police cannot prosecute for a retrospective crime. I don't think a police officer giving me a speeding ticket for going 72 in a 65 two hours ago is going to hold any water in court. Secondly, I think this data is probably going to be used to plan speed traps, not hand out tickets. Plus, how much of the population is using TomTom GPS systems? Are they representative of the entire driving population? I think not.

Re:I don't think it would matter even if they coul (1)

tripleevenfall (1990004) | more than 3 years ago | (#35965942)

They give tickets for people who've run red lights and been captured by the camera. This would be no different. Electronic witness versus electronic witness. The camera doesn't lie... well, the GPS doesn't lie, either.

Re:I don't think it would matter even if they coul (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35965974)

"Sorry officer, you can't prosecute me for committing murder, I did it two hours ago!"

something that would be more interesting (1)

RobertLTux (260313) | more than 3 years ago | (#35965984)

How easy is it to get out of a speeding ticket if you got radared at 20 above the speed limit but your gps clearly show you being maybe 2 above the speed limit.

Re:I don't think it would matter even if they coul (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35966104)

You smokin'?
You can't make something a crime then retroactively prosecute for it, but you can certainly prosecute for a crime that happened in the past. EVERY crime was committed before the perpetrator was prosecuted.

Re:I don't think it would matter even if they coul (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 3 years ago | (#35966106)

I think you might be mistaken on the meaning of that: You cannot be tried or punished for doing something that was not illegal when you did it; but later became illegal. Nor can you be re-punished if you were convicted of a crime that carried one sentence when you committed it; but was later changed to carry a different sentence(unless you are just inherently evil, like those convicted of sex offenses who were then added to the newly created 'registry' systems) .

However, if you do something that was illegal at the time you did it, there is no requirement that the cops crack the case immediately. Depending on the type of crime, the state having jurisdiction where it occurred, etc. there might be a statue of limitations that would apply; but that would be the only bound on the ability to prosecute for past crimes.

Changing a 65mph zone to 45mph, and then prosecuting everybody who is known to have gone over 45 in the past few years would not be kosher; but there is no requirement that you be caught in the act(though that certainly does make proof easier).

Re:I don't think it would matter even if they coul (1)

kalirion (728907) | more than 3 years ago | (#35966122)

First off, at least in the United States, police cannot prosecute for a retrospective crime.

Wait, what now? So the only way to be charged with murder is to kill someone in front of a cop?

Re:I don't think it would matter even if they coul (1)

icebike (68054) | more than 3 years ago | (#35966140)

First off, at least in the United States, police cannot prosecute for a retrospective crime.

That statement gets my vote for the silliest post on Slashdot this month.

So you are saying they can only prosecute crimes that you might commit in the future? So just send in 10 years worth of "potential future" speeding fines, and we will call it good, m'k?

Retrospective LAWS, not crime (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35966162)

They can't pass a law today outlawing chewing bubble gum, then give you a ticket for doing it last week. But if there is a law outlawing it today, and you chew it tomorrow, even if they don't catch you until next week, then there's no problem.

Attention. (5, Funny)

kitsunewarlock (971818) | more than 3 years ago | (#35965904)

You only have six points remaining on your license.

Well.... (1)

CarsonChittom (2025388) | more than 3 years ago | (#35965922)

If they can somehow verify that the data actually is anonymized, I don't really have a problem with them submitting it to the government. The state departments of transportation need to know how people are actually driving. Getting that data normally takes long, expensive studies, but they do it anyway because it makes people safer: if the average speed on a road is 5 mph over the legal limit, that's probably not a big deal; if it's 30 mph over, then there may well be something wrong with the design of the road (alternatively, the speed limit may just be set too low). If TomTom can help make things less expensive for taxpayers and safer for all drivers, without compromising privacy—I see that as a win.

Re:Well.... (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 3 years ago | (#35966128)

It's totally untraceable. We stripped out the name, CC data, and address and simply replaced it with a numeric UID. There should be no way at all of determining the identity of somebody who routinely drives to and from a given residential address... Just like that AOL search dataset became totally anonymous when they switched to UIDs.

Re:Well.... (2)

ohnocitizen (1951674) | more than 3 years ago | (#35966150)

If they can somehow verify that the data actually is anonymized, I don't really have a problem with them submitting it to the government. The state departments of transportation need to know how people are actually driving. Getting that data normally takes long, expensive studies, but they do it anyway because it makes people safer: if the average speed on a road is 5 mph over the legal limit, that's probably not a big deal; if it's 30 mph over, then there may well be something wrong with the design of the road (alternatively, the speed limit may just be set too low). If TomTom can help make things less expensive for taxpayers and safer for all drivers, without compromising privacy—I see that as a win.

If they find the speed limit is typically 30mph over for a given highway, they will increase patrols on said highway. In addition to potential safety concerns, speed limits are used as a revenue source - essentially as an under the table tax. Thus providing data of any sort to the police could become more expensive for taxpayers.
The other problem with saying "oh its anonymous so it is ok with me" is how much easier it would be for them to start collecting unique identifiers for cars without explicitly informing the public. Even more likely - a district which has traffic cameras might decide this new source of data ought to serve the same function, and pass a law mandating unique identifiers be passed along to law enforcement. Its quite the slippery slope.

Re:Well.... (1)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 3 years ago | (#35966250)

Except for the fact that the government and police officers are all greedy bastards.

None of them will take the sane solution that since everyone is going 30 miles over the speed limit the speed limit should be raised. Instead, they see money and waste more taxpayer funds going after this "crime" rather than protecting people from actual crime.

Re:Well.... (1)

CarsonChittom (2025388) | more than 3 years ago | (#35966346)

Given your tone and your sig, I realize that we can't have a rational discussion about the issue. Therefore, I'm not going to try.

dig at Apple (1)

mr100percent (57156) | more than 3 years ago | (#35965934)

I don't really think Apple is in the same ballpark here. A cache that stays on the phone and isn't deleted due to a bug is very different than a GPS device that shares data with the police.

Re:dig at Apple (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35966112)

It's not a cache file, its a database. Its also backed up and restored to the next phone you migrate to from your old phone. That's not a bug, that's defined as "intentional".

Re:dig at Apple (1)

node 3 (115640) | more than 3 years ago | (#35966384)

It's a cache of a subset of a database from Apple. It's not a list of locations the user was at. Also, it's not necessarily intentional, because all the things you mentioned are the defaults for iOS. Intentional is, in fact, the changes they are putting into the next iOS update, which address every single concern on this issue.

So, how long until police lobbyists (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35965936)

Get this anonymous tracking mandated for new cars? It's for safety you see.

Good Job, TomTom (1)

milbournosphere (1273186) | more than 3 years ago | (#35965938)

I'll never recommend your products again.

TomTom says the data..'can never be traced back..' (1)

countertrolling (1585477) | more than 3 years ago | (#35965946)

'Ordinarily, we'd be reassured by this...'

You would?! Why would anybody ever believe such BS? See, that the problem right there, you'll believe anything that looks all glossy 'n shit..

As my art teacher says (1)

cpu6502 (1960974) | more than 3 years ago | (#35965954)

"If you're doing nothing wrong, you should have nothing to fear from cops."

Being Libertarian (i.e. 10th amendment constitutionalist) I strongly disagree with her. Cops ARE people you need to fear, especially when they have a habit of dragging people out of cars and beating them, or "accidentally" shooting kids/pets during drug raids. The last thing I want it them tracking me.

Reassured?? (4, Insightful)

Concern (819622) | more than 3 years ago | (#35965982)

Why on earth would you be reassured?

"Anonymous" GPS traces that start and/or end with your home every day are not anonymous. Apple tried that trick - it's an intelligence test for the masses.

Re:Reassured?? (1, Troll)

StikyPad (445176) | more than 3 years ago | (#35966378)

If you're using a GPS to get to and from you home every day, you might have bigger problems, and indeed, it's probably best that someone's keeping track of you.

Re:Reassured?? (1)

Concern (819622) | more than 3 years ago | (#35966436)

Apple collects this data under the context of i.e. iAds and transmits it back whether you use the GPS or not. As for TomTom... well, you'll find out if you're foolish and self-hating enough to remain a TomTom customer.

What about the reverse? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35966008)

We've already had the ability to have GPS devices notify us when approaching known speed traps, using services such as Trapster. A sort of double-agent role for TomTom would be amusing, where they tell police where people speed, and speeders where police tend to hide.

Dangerous? (1)

purplepolecat (1108483) | more than 3 years ago | (#35966028)

"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," he says.

Dangerous? Lucrative, more like.

Anonymous, unless (1)

Gostandy (1993280) | more than 3 years ago | (#35966044)

Statistical data does allow to draw any conclusion any particular element of the sample, except when the data set is small: if you are alone on the road, the data is certainly not anonymous. Similarly, if everyone is speeding, everyone can be fined with absolute certainty.

Don't just comment here! (2)

erroneus (253617) | more than 3 years ago | (#35966058)

http://corporate.tomtom.com/contactus.cfm [tomtom.com]

Send the a message directly. I think that'll be a great way to slashdo... err I mean get the message across to them.

Time to put up Amazon reviews with this info. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35966086)

This is not acceptable. Saying that the data is anonymous doesn't help as it may send police to hunt the roads you commute. So the info may be harvested from customers to harm customers.
The good use would be to give the data to highway planning and such to properly set speed limits rather than to shore up budgets with extra ticketing.
The only way to make corporations from abusing their customers for extra cash is to let the uninformed potential customers know what they are really getting.
A 1 star review on each Tomtom product that is then voted to the top, should get this point across.

wi-fi routers open, terrorists lose track of us? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35966088)

nobody really cares where we are or what we say, despite all the hoopla. if one or many causes 'trouble', all the mirroring proxisizing one or many can muster, will not keep the chosen ones' security forces from your doorway. open? is that like honest? not fatal? no weapons required type events?

Anonymous? (1)

Kuukai (865890) | more than 3 years ago | (#35966142)

The information may be "anonymous" but it's still your exact position. They need to find you and pull you over anyway. It's anonymous in the same way a radar blip is anonymous.

sickens you? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35966168)

If this traffic stuff sickens you, join us at wikiSPEEDia [wikispeedia.org]

We pay contributors for speed information. You submit it, you own it forever. We are a charity.

TomTom's CEO Harold Goddijn on Data Privacy (1)

xose (219487) | more than 3 years ago | (#35966182)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zc_cGepf1qg

People use traffic congestion maps (1)

ihop0 (988608) | more than 3 years ago | (#35966184)

Where do they think the information on real time traffic speeds for various commuter routes comes from? People also complain about governments not addressing congestion issues at certain locations, this sort of data, along with average speeds is how municipalities make determinations on what sort of road construction to do "The sat-navs in TomTom's Live range all feature built-in 3G data cards, which feed location and route information back to a central server, which allows TomTom to create a map of congestion hotspots. It's now emerged that this data, however, along with a user's speed, is being made available to local governments and authorities."

Doesn't it HAVE to be anonymous? (2, Interesting)

LordStormes (1749242) | more than 3 years ago | (#35966204)

I don't have a TomTom (got an Android and TomTom in the same birthday), but I don't believe you have to register for any TomTom service, you just buy the thing, plug it in, and it does map-stuff. Unless you sign up for their map update service, I doubt they HAVE your information to give to LEOs. What can they tell you, the serial number of the unit in your car? I'm sure law enforcement, with the ten minutes a month they don't spend trying to hunt down people with insignificant personal quantities of marijuana, will set up a checkpoint so they can check the serial numbers of every TomTom looking for that bastard with serial #93824920535326469 who went 5 miles over the speed limit last week at 4am.

Re:Doesn't it HAVE to be anonymous? (1)

bhassel (1098261) | more than 3 years ago | (#35966322)

Only as anonymous as precise location information can be. It's still going to show the start and end address of every trip you make, which includes your home and work addresses among other things.

How anonymous is your car's GPS... (1)

Ellis D. Tripp (755736) | more than 3 years ago | (#35966342)

when the location track starts and ends AT YOUR FREAKING HOUSE every day?

Re:Doesn't it HAVE to be anonymous? (1)

demonlapin (527802) | more than 3 years ago | (#35966370)

They just have to check to see where it spends the most time parked. In almost all cases, those will be your home and your job/school.

For Sale GPS Device (1)

LifesABeach (234436) | more than 3 years ago | (#35966280)

TomTom GPS unit, excellent condition, easy to use. Cheap! Will trade for a comparable Other GPS unit.

But I've nothing to hide! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35966332)

Don't be so paranoid. Why on earth wouldn't I use this fantastic FREE service of corporate XYZ to share my everything with everyone? It's so COOL!!

C'mon, what on earth can ever happen?! I've nothing to hide!

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