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Switzerland bans some GPS devices for speed camera warnings

Paul Miller, @futurepaul
February 9, 2007
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Sure, Switzerland is all like "that's cool, bring your embezzled funds and criminal self on over, we don't mind," but when it comes to personal navigation devices, they take a bit harder line. On January 10th a law went into effect banning the use of a navigation device to warn of speed surveillance locations, and police now have the authority to stop drivers using their GPS units for such a purpose, confiscate and destroy the device and fine the driver -- we hate to see what they do to people who read books and feel emotion. As far as we can tell, it's not actually illegal to own such a device, just illegal to use it for such a nefarious purpose, but at the same time Swiss government has issued a list of "illegal" navigation systems for retailers to remove from their shelves, including devices from TomTom, Garmin, Mio, Navman, Medion, Route66, Packard Bell, Sony and ViaMichelin. TomTom's response was polite but concerned: "We are aware that the Federal Highways Department (ASTRA) has issued a statement related to GPS navigation and safety camera alerts. However, TomTom develops all of its products and services with ease of use and safety as a priority and we believe that our safety camera solution enhances road safety and security in Switzerland. We believe our safety camera services are fully legal to use and to sell. As a matter of course however, we are working with ASTRA to fully understand their view on the current legal situation." Tourists should switch off the device or at least keep away from traffic cam info while driving through the country, but it seems like the Swiss people will have to figure out how to get rid of this potentially overreaching law themselves.

[Thanks, RJ]



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