GPS tracking is an incredibly innovative and versatile technology. It has brought new meaning to mobile visibility and organization. It has been used to save lives by improving emergency response times, and locating the cell phones of people lost in the wilderness. In the wrong hands, however, the increased visibility that GPS tracking provides could bring us closer to the dystopian vision of Orwell’s “1984”.
A Holland based satellite navigation (satnav) company, called TomTom, recently admitted to that it sold the GPS tracking data of its customers. Though it was not the intention of TomTom, the Dutch police have been using this data to plan speed traps.
TomTom’s chief executive, Harold Goddijn, sent out an apology email to all its users, promising to never release the data to Holland police again. “We are now aware that the police have used traffic information that you have helped to treat to place speed cameras at dangerous locations where the average speed is higher than the legally allowed speed limit,” he explained.
According to TomTom, the data was sold with the intention of helping city planners build better road plans, by evaluating the flaws of the current plans. Harold Goddin adds, “We have learned that police have been using that information to identify road stretches where people are driving too fast to put up cameras and make speed traps. We don’t like that because our customers don’t like that. We will prevent that type of usage of our data in the future.”
Article Written by Marisa O’ConnorGoogle+