The Car Insurance industry has tripped across a brilliant piece of marketing, that will allow them to track the driving habits of all their customers. These devices hook into your car’s computer system (the diagnostic port, I believe), they most likely have a GPS capability and a cellular interface to send data back to your insurer. The device tracks your driving habits and you can see how well you are doing (on-line), and you get a discount for installing it on your car, which sounds wonderful.
If I put on my aluminum foil hat (i.e. take a paranoid point of view), I find it interesting to hear rights and freedoms lovers (as should we all) complaining about how much information the government collects from them, when folks sign up for these kind of invasive programs without batting an eye.
Allegedly the insurance companies in Canada that have these devices claim that they will not use this data to punish drivers, and that may be the case now, but it won’t remain that way.
If I was collecting specific data about driving habits, I would start doing some analysis on the number of times drivers:
- Slam on the brakes (yes, that data is there already, your car already tracks pressure on brake pedal)
- Breaks speed limits and where (do you do 120 KM/hr on highways or worse 80 km/hr in school zones), if the device has a GPS in it, how hard is it to figure this out?
- Went to bars and drove afterwards (no that doesn’t prove guilt, but it doesn’t paint a pretty picture either).
- How well you maintain your car.
Don’t think this can happen? Haven’t you noticed all of this great “directed advertising” Google has been giving you? Data collection about you goes on pretty much all day long, and the folks collecting the data aren’t supposed to use it for nefarious reasons, but what is stopping them?
Yes, I sound like a paranoid privacy lunatic, but in this situation, I don’t believe that these “money-saving devices” are only for “monitoring purposes”. I will pass on them until I am forced to install one (and yes I believe that in the future that might be the case). I do, however, think it is a brilliant idea for the insurance companies to have a better understanding of their customers’ driving habits.
Is this just me being paranoid?