Aussie traffic data on TomTom target list

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Aussie traffic data on TomTom target list

Three years' worth to be auctioned.

GPS maker TomTom has admitted to collecting traffic data from every Australian user of its devices in the past three years.

The Australian Financial Review reported that anonymised Australian data would be packaged and auctioned later this year.

The company has already faced a backlash from users in the Netherlands for selling collated speed data to police, to inform the placement of speed cameras.

TomTom said last month that it had initially decided to collect motorist information to make journey duration predictions more accurate.

Electronic Frontiers Australia chair Colin Jacobs warned that companies' claims of aggregating and anonymising data “doesn’t always wash”.

“It’s not clear enough what’s happening and what they’re doing with the data,” he said.

“The data could be taken between a user’s home and workplace. How easy is it to anonymise?”

Jacobs added that it wasn’t in the interests of TomTom “to consider how a motivated party could link data back to a person”.

“And the harder they try to anonymise the data, the less value it has [to potential buyers],” he noted.

Jacobs was also critical of companies that included controversial terms of service with products.

He said that giving customers a choice between “agreeing to legalese or not using the device at all” was “not a fair way to present [the issue] to a user who’s just bought the device”.

“The terms and conditions might say they’re able to use the data [like TomTom did], but for practical purposes, I don’t think that’s a good way to treat customers."

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