Sunday, March 18, 2012

TomTom Crowdsourced Maps Raise Concerns


Late in January, TomTom announced innovation that would allow it to collect user location data and analyze it in order to provide maps that would be updated for accuracy daily. However, with all of the recent privacy issues around the world, many people have begun to express concern about exactly what TomTom is going to be doing with this sensitive information.

Earlier this week, TomTom representatives responded to user concerns, stating that it took the privacy of its customers very seriously and was taking several steps to ensure anonymity, including allowing customers to opt out of the program. With this most recent announcement of collecting user data, TomTom claims that it will not only be stripping out the identifying information, but encrypting it and storing it on secure servers that only TomTom will have access to.

Here’s a video the company released explaining the program:

According to a V3 article, TomTom has had issues with customer privacy in the past. In 2011 the company was accused of providing travel data to the police to help them decide where to establish speed traps. TomTom insisted that police were using the data to see where to install speed cameras, and eventually the company was found to not have breached any regulations.

The daily map update and collection of user services for this process is expected to be launched soon, so it will be interesting to see how many customers opt-in and whether or not it will actually be useful.

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