Europe News: Trafficmaster responds to Daily Mail’s “Big Brother” allegations

Europe News:  Trafficmaster responds to Daily Mail’s “Big Brother” allegations

According to a recent report in the Daily Mail, a secret “Big Brother” operation allows officials to pinpoint the exact location of thousands of vehicles fitted with Trafficmaster’s Smartnav systems.

The report says that the controversial scheme is built into the small print of a contract between the Department for Transport and Trafficmaster.

The Daily Mail report suggests that the system could provide the blueprint to monitor the location, speed and journey details of millions of drivers in years to come. It could identify which vehicles use which roads at what time of day, as well as speeding drivers.

Such information could be used by a road-pricing system, or by law enforcement authorities or the taxman to determine whether an individual was where he claims to have been at a particular time.

Trafficmaster spokesman Phil Hale has responded to Daily Mail report, saying: “The contract between Trafficmaster and the UK Department for Transport is for the supply of congestion and journey time information, some of which we collect as floating vehicle data from our customer base.”

Hale added that Trafficmaster goes to great lengths to ensure all data provided is anonymous and does not identify individual drivers, vehicles or journeys.

The £3 million contract is part of Trafficmaster’s work in monitoring congestion around the UK. The company also works with Transport for London and the UK Highways Agency.

Hale pointed out that Trafficmaster is neither interested nor involved in any enforcement activity.

“The Department for Transport’s use of Trafficmaster data is limited to its analysis of traffic and congestion and in understanding the impacts of congestion reduction schemes in the UK,” explained Hale.

“I’m unable to say why the Daily Mail wrote this story. Nothing in our contract is “hidden in small print”, and we have been completely open about the contract, its value, its purpose and content.”

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