Last week, it was revealed that TomTom sold data collected from their GPS users to the police. The company, who is headquartered in Amsterdam and is the largest navigation device maker in Europe, had recently started expanding their business by selling map and traffic data to the government.
With low first quarter earnings for 2011, TomTom began selling traffic data to compensate for the decline in personal navigation device (PND) sales. After purchasing the GPS data from TomTom, government officials used the information to set targeted speed traps on roads where drivers historically went over the speed limit. As expected, TomTom users were upset with their GPS information being used against them.
Chief executive of TomTom, Harold Goodijn, sent an email apology, explaining the company's actions. According to Goodijn, TomTom believed sharing the data with the government would help improve safety and decrease traffic. He went on to explain, "We never foresaw this kind of use and many of our clients are not happy about it." Pledging further action, Goodijn promised future licensing agreements to protect TomTom users and "prevent this type of use."