TomTom Live Submits Your Speed Data To Police

Discussion in 'General TomTom Discussion' started by greal, Apr 28, 2011.

  1. greal

    greal

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    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.
     
    greal, Apr 28, 2011
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  2. greal

    mvl Moderator

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    This also had included non-LIVE devices, which feed back your data on a historical, delayed basis.

    See Tomtom's response here.
     
    mvl, Apr 28, 2011
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  3. greal

    Giljorak

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    The RDS-TMC system uses Floating Car Data from cell phones for determining traffic speeds. This can also be used by the police for enforcement purposes. This data is also used by broadcasters showing traffic speeds on the TV news.
     
    Giljorak, Apr 28, 2011
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  4. greal

    canderson Moderator

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    The bogus bit, I'm sure provided by the police, was this comment: "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 that than the legally allowed speed limit."

    Since the police are already aware of dangerous locations (statistically higher than average traffic accident rates), they should make use of that information to make their cameras "available" in those locations. If they believe it will improve traffic safety in such areas, they should be acting regardless of whether or not speed is playing a role in the problem. There's no need to buy speed data from an outside source to make such determinations and take such actions.

    Buying speed data, on the other hand... that's revenue generation.
     
    canderson, Apr 28, 2011
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  5. greal

    veetvoojagig

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    I drive the speed limit. Problem solved.
     
    veetvoojagig, Apr 29, 2011
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  6. greal

    Aiken Drum

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    My thoughts exactly. The police and local municipalities have used the data to maximize the return on their "investment" in the cameras. I'm certain local municipalities are less interested in the safety aspect of *anything* when comparing it to it's revenue generating capability. They never take into account just safety, it's how many variations of "squeeze the sheeple" they can impose on the citizenry. In this instance I would wonder just how complicit Tomtom is in helping the government milk the people cow and if they have ever deliberately withheld traffic camera updates to help generate revenue for the government, and also if Tomtom is paid for any or all of their involvement.
     
    Aiken Drum, Apr 29, 2011
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  7. greal

    Andy_P Moderator

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    I'd rather not be an unquestioning "sheep".

    I agree with most of the regulations handed down to us by the authorities, but I consider it my duty as a citizen to take them to task over those I don't. That's democracy.
     
    Andy_P, Apr 29, 2011
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  8. greal

    jonstrong

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    Unless it turns out that TomTom is selling customer-specific data, as opposed to anonymized data, it seems that the sale of the data is only providing police departments with a more convenient form of the info they have already, simply by looking a publicly visible maps (like TomTom HD maps, Google, etc) or by purchasing connected GPS's for their own use. Their challenge of course is integrating the data and making it usable to support their analysis. But if what we're looking at is the police departments using the info to "discover" that rush hour traffic tends to exceed speed limits by 15 MPH on the New Jersey Turnpike northbound, then I think we may be overreacting.

    I WOULD be angry to learn that driver-specific data was being shared, allowing police to identify when I chose to exceed the limit, but short of that, I doubt they'll learn anything they didn't know before, except perhaps where certain sections of roads cause problems, or where accident rates were highly correlated with people exceeding the limit.
     
    jonstrong, Apr 29, 2011
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  9. greal

    canderson Moderator

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    They won't "learn" that, either, because they already have that information. During the investigation of any serious accident, such things are examined carefully, and there's always a box for "Cause-in-Fact" using whatever name an agency might choose to give it. If they feel that vehicle speed (or eating a burrito or applying makeup) is a contributing cause, it's added to the report and becomes part of the summary data for the intersection or piece of road during regular analysis of problem areas. It's not rocket science -- just requires the data get captured at the scene and if the outfit is to small to justify a full-blown database, a simple spreadsheet.

    It's for exactly this reason that I make the claim that the purchase of the speed data isn't directed at "safety", but rather, enforcement and revenue.
     
    canderson, Apr 29, 2011
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  10. greal

    canderson Moderator

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    FWIW in all of this, the CEO of TomTom, Harold Goddijn, advises today that future licensing agreements for use of the data they sell will exclude the kind of use we're discussing here. The article is in Dutch, but can be found here: TomTom neemt maatregelen tegen politiegebruik - Autowereld - AD

    Google Translate mangles it just a little bit, but if you use that, you'll get the drift.

    The title of this thread is very misleading. TomTom does NOT supply data directly to the police. They offer the data to an intermediary to sell to various customers who might find the data useful. If TomTom is to be believed, they were unaware until recently that the data was being used in this manner by 3rd parties.
     
    canderson, Apr 29, 2011
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