Monday, August 07, 2006

The return of the Black Box

The Sunday Times published yesterday that several insurance companies are launching policies whereas they install "black boxes" into their customers' cars, these devices monitor their usage and the insurance premium are charged according to the type/time of use. These policies are supposed to reduce the premiuns paid by customers. The same type of scheme was tried in the US and was scrapped due to high cost and that the technology was not ripe. However, once the black box is installed, there are many other uses that can be made of it, uses that raise concern about customers' privacy. Taking into account the new powers of the police (and the way they are used, as for example with the tracking of Oyster Card's users) and the faciltiy with companies can change the conditions of use only giving the consumers the option to cancel the service, the privacy issues that this development raises in England and far more than worrying.

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