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Always Being Watched - Black Box Spying Devices Fitted As Standard

posted on May 20 2014 by Kiri Nowak

Always Being Watched - Black Box Spying Devices Fitted As Standard

Could the black box spying device be compulsory in a few years?

Black box devices to be fitted as standard on new cars according to EU regulations expected to come into play from next October. Unfortunately insurance costs are likely to rise for people that refuse to install them. These devices are similar to the black boxes you get on aeroplanes.

The black boxes will enable insurers to keep an eye on how fast people are driving and monitor their driving skills. They will collect information such as how hard people break, speed and how many different journeys people make. This technology is known as ‘telematics’.

Different versions of these spying devices are already being used by some insurance companies including Co-operative insurance, Swinton, Coverbox and the AA. They are an option for younger drivers looking for a way to reduce their premiums in their first few years of driving, a time when insurance premiums are particularly expensive.

However, it looks as though this technology is going to be rolled out across the board. According to industry research it is predicted that around half of all cars will be fitted with the device by 2020. Drivers who do not comply will potentially be faced with far higher insurance premiums or being refused insurance altogether.

Tom Ellis, of the comparison website Gocompare, said: ‘In ten years time there will still be customers who prefer not to have a telematics device installed but it will be an opt out situation rather than an opt in.’

‘There will be reasons for people opting out - perhaps because they are bad drivers, or unhappy with the privacy element or have an old car but they will have to accept a higher premium to insure their car.’

Is it a step too far when it comes to people’s privacy, or is it worth the sacrifice to help reduce accidents? It could encourage safer driving and should help emergency services to quickly find crashed vehicles.

Pete Williams, of the RAC says ‘We are working with the industry to make sure control of such data is retained by the individual motorist but for the vast majority of motorists it will be a good thing with regard to things like safety and vehicle recovery.’

These devices dramatically increase the amount of information insurers have about drivers and their driving habits. There is concern over drivers losing control over who accesses their data, and also how the data is used. Critics of the scheme are also worried that the data could fall into the wrong hands.

Emma Carr of Big Brother Watch said: ‘Forcing drivers to have a telematics device installed in their car, capable of recording and transmitting exactly where and when they are driving, is totally unacceptable. There is s a clear risk drivers will lose total control over who has access to their data and how they will use it.’

What do you think? Will you comply?