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Redflex App Monitors Motorists
Privacy policy for red light camera vendor iPhone app seeks permission to collect and share location data.

Redflex app
A photo enforcement company wants to collect information from motorists with an iPhone. Redflex Traffic Systems of Australia, the second largest player in the photo ticketing industry, introduced a smartphone app on Thursday that promises benefits to motorists that may come with a privacy cost.

"Our goal with the Redflex Locator App is to alert drivers where photo enforcement systems exist and encourage them to drive safely," Jamie Saunders, head of US operations, said in a statement.

The alerts are limited to certain cameras operated by Redflex. The app has no listings for the automated ticketing machines run by the firm's larger rival, American Traffic Solutions (ATS), or smaller players like Optotraffic and Traffipax. The app also conceals the location of mobile photo radar units.

"The application is not intended for use while driving, and a user of the application should not in any circumstance use the application while driving," the app's disclaimer explains.

Users can only access this restricted set of information after agreeing to the terms and conditions set by Redflex.

"We collect personal identifiable information, such as your email address, when voluntarily submitted by our users," the app's privacy policy states. "You may choose whether or not to allow the app to collect and use real-time information about your driver's location through your device's privacy settings. If you block the use of location information, some parts of the app may then be inaccessible or not function properly... We may disclose your information to our third-party service providers that assist us with... marketing our services."

Camera companies have offered apps before, but they have not been targeted at the motoring public. Vigilant Solutions last year announced a facial recognition app that law enforcement officials could use to track anyone using the firm's automated license plate reader cameras. ATS allows local government officials to track individual motorists using the red light camera infrastructure.

"The TRACS Automated License Plate Recognition (ALPR) System used to compare license plate information against a database and send e-mail notification to an officer's vehicle," the firm boasted in a proposal to city officials.

The Redflex announcement suggested that the initial free download had limited features, but a future edition -- possibly a paid offering -- would do more.

"The Redflex development team is currently working on a second version of the app with GPS functionality, automated updates, push notifications and audio alerts of photo enforcement locations," the press release stated.

Redflex CEO Paul Clark said last year that the company intends to diversify and "de-risk" its product offerings because red light cameras have become politically unpopular in the United States.

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