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Agency Data & Privacy Smartphone

Privacy fears after it emerges Highways Agency is being given motorists' data from smartphone and satnav firms

By Angela Haggerty | Reporter

September 22, 2013 | 2 min read

Privacy concerns have been raised after it emerged that mobile phone companies have been passing data to the Highways Agency allowing them to monitor motorists’ movements through their phone signals.

Privacy: Fears have been raised about the use of personal data

The agency has been using data from phone companies and other firms to track the information, including collecting data collated by satnav systems, prompting serious questions about the protection of personal data.

According to the Telegraph, the Highways Agency said any information it receives is confidential and could not lead to the identification of motorists, but privacy campaign group Big Brother Watch said people were unlikely to have any idea that information was exchanged in this way and called for a less intrusive method to monitor traffic.

The agency is using the information in two trials, one of which uses dated information to try and track traffic trends and the other uses real time data to help manage current flow and congestion. The first trial is being piloted on the M25.

Last month, similar concerns were raised over how smartphone signals are tapped into by companies without users’ knowledge when it emerged that Renew London had fitted recycling bins in the city with technology tracking smartphones, allowing marketers to target advertising more specifically.

Agency Data & Privacy Smartphone

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