Hemos from the interesting-adaptation dept.
Okko writes "The Finnish Road Administration announced it is going to use cellphone location data to find out about traffic jams. They say they are using the location data available from the GSM base stations
to determine the locations and speeds of vehicles carrying mobile phones. The information will be used to inform people about traffic jams and peaks in traffic trough public FM radio stations. Until now, the information about traffic has been gathered using car sensors embedded in the roads.
The spokesperson of FRA, interviewed in the evening news of MTV3 Finland, seemed very pleased they can monitor cell phones even when no calls are made, it is enough the phone has power on.
They said they are about to use the information anonymously and thought people approve it as long as it is done in an anonymous and "everyone-wins" way.
It was told they do not currently tell the police about the data they discover as the current law forbids this. So, it is not, at least yet, possible to fine people carrying mobile phones in their cars too fast on public roads (exceeding the speed limit of the road).
Unfortunately, probably because of vacations,
FRA has not updated their website accordingly yet. There does exist an annoucement about testing the technology from the summer.
In seeking the unattainable, simplicity only gets in the way.
-- Epigrams in Programming, ACM SIGPLAN Sept. 1982