After all the fuss about GPS chips in smart phones (and anyone who watches US crime shows like Numbers will “know” that since 9/11 the US government has required all mobile phones to have GPS capability – or is that just a script writer’s fantasy?) it seems that Tom Tom, Europe’s biggest satnav manufacturer, has been selling anonymised data on average travel speeds to governments. This is the information used to help drivers avoid congested roads and provide updates on arrival times.
But police realised they could use it as a guide to where to set their speed traps. A nice little earner! The company has since apologised saying that they thought the date would improve traffic safety or help to reduce traffic congestion.
The market for personal navigation devices ie satnavs is declining – partly because many cars have them built in (about 50% of Tom Tom’s sales) and also because of competition from smartphones and tablet computers. So selling data is another way of making money.