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Police use TomTom SatNav data to set speed traps

Dutch satnav specialist Tomtom is facing the wrath of users whose data has been passed to the police and used to help them set speed traps to nab the very users providing the data.

TomTom claims that the Dutch police obtained the data from the Dutch government, after it handed it over to - it said - help make roads safer and cut congestion.

Apparently the government decided that one way to make the roads safer was to pinpoint areas where speeding was rife and get speed traps set up there.

TomTom's CEO, Harold Goddign, confessed: "Many of our customers are not happy." He also said the company would have to change its licensing terms and conditions since this type of use of customers' data is not provided for in the current version of its small print.

Dutch newspaper Algemeen Dagblad revealed that TomTom flogs its traffic data to various buyers and that the Dutch police were a happy recipient.

In his emailed apology to customers, Goddign said his company hadn't foreseen the data being put to such a use. He said the data could not be personally identifiable and claimed customers could opt out if they chose.

TomTom is suffering in a declining market as stand-alone satnav devices are increasingly being replaced by cheap or even free software running on smartphones.

It does have a mountain of data worth flogging, however.