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I See You: Pay as You Drive Insurance and Your Privacy

An interesting article appears in Claims Journal today touching on potential holes in privacy rights associated with 'pay as you drive' insurance schemes. These new auto insurance programs offer reduced premiums to drivers who agree to have their car fitted with equipment that will track information including the time of day they drive, the speed they drive and the manner in which they brake. The data is collected by the insurance company with the assurance that privacy is fully protected; nobody is watching to see where you go and what you do. The only problem is that advanced telemetrics may allow the insurer to do just that.

The article discusses a study conducted by University of Denver scientists working through the Colorado Research Institute for Security and Privacy. The group of 4 scientists found that some of the pieces of information beamed to the insurance company when taken together can be used to acurrately infer destination in many cases. Claims Journal Article

The moral of the story is that nothing comes for free. If you sell your data, somebody is likely to use it in a fashion that you didn't contemplate when you made your deal. Beware of insurers bearing gifts.

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