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TomTom Oz to repeat Netherlands data sale

‘Sorry’ in Dutch means ‘do it’ in English

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Hard on the heels of its apology for flogging customer data to police in The Netherlands, satnav maker Tom Tom is set for a repeat performance in Australia.

TomTom attracted universal flack last week for admitting that local and regional governments in the Netherlands had used TomTom’s GPS data to help police set speed traps.

TomTom CEO Harold Goddijn, emailed an apology to customers promising that the information would not be handed to the police in that way again. "It turns out the police have used traffic information that you have helped to create to place speed cameras where the average speed is higher than the legally allowed speed limit. We did not foresee this type of usage.”

He added: “TomTom fully understands some of our customers do not like this and we will amend the licensing conditions to stop this type of usage in near future.”

But on Friday an executive from TomTom Australia told The Australian Financial Review that although the company intends to never to sell data in that way, it could not rule out such activity in Australia.

TomTom Australia's VP of marketing, Chris Kearney, said that the company hopes to sell its data to organisations such as the Road Traffic Authority and VicRoads in the second half of this year, but has yet to seal a deal. He said that the data sold was anonymous and impossible to trace it back to individuals.

Kearney said the company would look at ways to prevent the data being used to set speed traps (in which case, why would the police be interested?).

"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. ®

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