Is New Technology A Potential Breach Of Human Rights?

Tuesday, 16. September 2014

Hi, Graham Hill here, thank you so much for visiting my blog, I hope you learn a lot and as a result end up driving a great car. In order to do so you can get all the information you need by buying my book, An Insider Guide To Car Finance or use me to finance your next car. Happy driving.

Telematics is a fairly new word that started its life within the terminology used by fleet managers wishing to track drivers of their vans to ensure that drivers were not driving too many hours and using the most economic routes. It normally takes the form of a tracking device that records everything from time spent driving to the routes taken by the driver, fuel consumption and even the driving style of the driver.

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The process was intended to improve driver safety, improve efficiency and ensure that the driver was involved in as few accidents as possible. But these days the same technology has moved into the consumer market with insurance companies prepared to give discounts to drivers who fit telematics type systems to their cars providing greater discounts to those who drive least and most carefully.

But this has led to legal questions about what data is provided and how it is used. Basic tracking information used for health and safety or economic reasons may be all well and good but what about the times when the company vehicle is being used for personal use and if information is fed to your insurer when is the data likely to cross over into an infringement of personal privacy?

Marc Dautlich, head of information law and partner in the technology, media and telecoms team at international law firm Pinsent Masons, believes employers using such technology need to tread very carefully. It is also believed that Insurers and those collecting data on their behalf need to be equally cautious. Legal issues stem from data protection and employment law, as well as article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights, under which an individual has a right to ‘respect for one’s private and family life, home and correspondence.’

Not only could telematics systems leave drivers vulnerable to the miss-use of data but as cars now have access to the likes of Google, Facebook, Emails and your mobile address book how is the information that may be stored in your car protected? I reported quite recently about the case of a celebrity’s wife selling her car and the new owner finding the previous owners phone list still stored in the car’s memory, including the home and mobile numbers of numerous famous people.

There are many advantages to having telematics fitted to your car, especially when proving a driver’s speed just prior to an accident but this could all fall apart if data is found to be miss-used by employers or insurance companies. Anyone using the data collected must make it clear to the driver what information will be collected, how it will be used and how long it will be kept for. By Graham Hill

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