TomTom sells private data to Dutch Government

Never mind Apple storing data on its users’ movements, GPS outfit TomTom has been selling details on the trips of all its customers to the Dutch coppers who have used it to arrest people.

TomTom has said sorry after news that Dutch police used data gathered from drivers who use the company’s products to set traps was leaked to the great unwashed.

Algemeen Dagblad, a newspaper in the Netherlands, reported that Dutch police had obtained traffic information from the TomTom and were setting up speed traps based on the data.

It was a bad day for TomTom, it had to slash its 2011 sales forecast after a weak first-quarter earnings report.

However it looks like its cunning plan to bolster its bottom line by flogging traffic data to the authorities has been outed and the world wide wibble was full of jolly cross TomTom users.

According to the LA Times,  the company issued a statement that assured customers it would investigate how the data sold was used.

TomTom Chief Executive Harold Goddijn also posted a YouTube video promising that TomTom would “prevent that kind of usage” of from here on out.

After all it is very important to shut the stable door after a horse has bolted and the Dutch Government’s cheque has cleared.

Goddijn admitted that the Dutch police use the information obtained “to put up speed cameras and speed traps.

TomTom did not like that because its customers don’t like it,” he said. “We will prevent that type of usage of our data in the future.”

Notice the use of the word “our” in front of the word “data”. It seems that TomTom thinks that because it recorded your trip to Tesco’s it owns it.

He said that the data was anonymous and not linked to particular drivers. Even then it was information from drivers who had opted in was collected and sold.

Goddijn blamed the coppers for using the information the wrong way. It thought that coppers would use the data to improve traffic safety and not set speed traps.