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The road to safety is paved with good intentions

According to the paranoid-sounding Spy Blog, the EU wants to introduce a telecomms-based system to improve car safety.

There are big problems in terms of privacy. The biggest issue is that it threatens to create the largest concentration of real-time information about innocent private citizens that has ever been created anywhere, even in a totalitarian state.

Can the end justify the means? I think so. Road systems are a major centre of cost and accidents in the economy, and it makes sense to use telematics to improve the management of the systems.

Does the end justify the means in all circumstances? Definitely not. As it stands, there simply aren’t enough controls on how large organizations deal with private data around individuals.

The Commission’s proposal (PDF)
makes only the most cursory mention of privacy as an issue. For the guy who wrote this document, privacy is just a legal issue that can be sidestepped, rather than a substantial hurdle to developing intelligent vehicle safety systems.

A ‘spy-in-the-car’ proposal could easily be the issue that would bring large-scale public attention on to aggregation and data privacy.

It’s time for big organizations to get their act together. Otherwise, consumer pressure will cause a lot of difficulty for them in the future.

(via email from TJ McIntyre)

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