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Police turn to e-scooter data to trace suspects

The most recent case in which police have used e-scooter data was a suspected child harassment incident in Tampere.

Sähköpotkulauta katukivetyksellä Narinkkatorilla Helsingissä heinäkuisena aamupäivänä.
Electric scooter companies can aid police investigations by providing data but will have to take into customer data protection laws. Image: Tommi Pylkkö / Yle
Yle News

Location and other information gathered from rented electric scooters is increasingly being used in police investigations.

The relatively new strategy was most recently taken into use on Sunday in the city of Tampere.

Officers in the city have utilised e-scooter data for a case in which a man who was suspected of indecent exposure had approached a group of children while on a ride on one of the devices.

Head of the investigation and chief inspector Vesa Järvenpää said that the police have requested information from Tier, the e-scooter rental company used by the suspect.

Tier: Complying within data protection laws

Speaking to Yle, Managing and Commercial Director of Tier Mobility Finland, Katja Ojala said she was shocked by the suspected child harassment case.

"Of course, we will help the police as much as we can within the framework of the Data Protection Act," Ojala said.

According to Ojala, the company must safeguard the data of its users and will offer its assistance to the police within the Act's limitations. Tier scooters have unique identification numbers much like regular vehicle registrations, which help identify specific users in traffic.

Järvenpää said he could not comment on the investigation any further, but he noted that the suspect had not yet been reached.

The police have asked for information or sightings regarding the incident to be sent via e-mail or by telephone (050 3998 024) during office hours.

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