In another blow to individual privacy the European Union has enacted strict laws that now force car manufacturers to track and submit loads of data about their driver to authorities. While supposedly for safety purposes there is no regulation on what that data can and cannot be used for, nor is there a limit to what can be collected.
Your car, already spying on you by keeping lots of data about your movements, will now upload it back to central government servers.
The official statement is that new cars sold in the EU from March 2018 will have to phone the government if they think they’ve been in a crash. But this is likely only part of what will happen.
The so-called eCall proposal has found favor with the EU Commission who will automatically dispatch emergency services if your car starts to upload data.
The calls will take place over cellular networks, meaning your car will permanently be connected to these networks 24/7. This would allow government spy agencies to record every movement of your vehicle as well as record conversations happening inside the passenger cabin. Such ‘features’ will be built into the vehicle systems starting in 2018.
In an accident, as opposed to general spying, the system is triggered by the same sensor as an airbag.
The law has been roundly criticized for being a flow to privacy and was successfully held up for years. Like most privacy issues, however, this too was slowly and methodically worked through government so that the spy agencies finally got their way. The passage raises serious questions, in light of the NSA spying on our elected officials, about whether spy agencies are now able to circumvent democracy and force through legislation that is not backed by the popular vote.