A new, proprietary sensor system technology has arrived on the market that can track drivers using cameras and sensors, including whether the driver is speeding or turning without signaling, or even data such as the driver’s heart rate and blood pressure–it could even gather data about the passengers in the vehicle. The auto insurance industry hopes to use this type of technology to allow insureds the opportunity to decrease (or maybe, unfortunately, increase) their auto insurance premiums based on their driving habits. Insured could choose to opt-in to this surveillance system for this benefit.
However, the concern arises when the information is used beyond the auto insurance industry. What if the information were sold to third parties like life insurance companies and health insurance companies, potential employers or credit rating agencies? While many auto insurers have used ‘telematics’ in the past (i.e., technology that transmits data in real time between the car and the company) to collect data on mileage, hours on the road, speed and brake activation, this new technology seeks to go beyond that.
The Electronic Privacy Information Center’s (EPIC) Associate Director, Khaliah Barnes said, in response to this new technology, “There is an urgent need to establish meaningful and enforceable privacy and safety protections.” But many drivers may not be too concerned about their privacy if they are offered a free gas card for their participation in this sensor system and the potential decrease in their yearly premiums.