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European Union to “Spy” On Drivers Starting Next Year

By on May 20, 2014

In another somewhat-unpleasant news report from across the pond, it looks like motorists in the European Union are going to be lawfully spied on starting next year. The inclusion of “black-box-like” devices in all new cars–and the addition of them to most older models–will be pretty much mandatory, starting in 2015. They’ll track your driving abilities and tendencies, and if you opt out of using one, you’ll pay heavily for it.

Originally created to enhance emergency response teams’ ability to quickly and effectively reach motorists in case of serious accidents, these devices (which are described as being similar to the black boxes found in planes) have evolved into a tool for insurance corporations and government entities to gather information on consumers and citizens.

The boxes are crafted using “telematics” technology and will be able to track drivers’ speeds, locations, braking tendencies and how often a car is in use (among plenty of other gatherable data). The idea is that, using this information, insurance companies and statisticians will get a much better look at the driving habits of people in the European Union. It will certainly help insurance agents/companies know when a driver is lying about a car’s use and it may even help drivers save money on premiums if discounts for “good behavior” are offered.

The new EU regulation goes into effect next year, with each new car being outfitted with the devices before being sold. According to an article on the UK’s Mirror website, researchers are estimating that about 50% of all cars (including used vehicles) will feature the “black boxes” by 2020.

Will you have to have the “spies” on your car when the law goes into effect? No, you won’t, but the article reports that drivers without them will garner gigantic hikes in their insurance premiums. So, if you aren’t living a financially comfortable life, it looks like your driving habits are about to be cataloged.

But only in the European Union.

For now…

What do you think about these mandatory black boxes? They obviously have their advantages and disadvantages, but do you think it’s an invasion of privacy? Would you be okay driving with one or would you take the premium penalty instead? Let’s talk about it below–because chances are, regulations like this will eventually cross the Atlantic!

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