Vehicles collect more and more data about traffic, driver behavior and the performance of the car itself. Research has shown that this application in vehicles promotes driving behavior and supports the prevention of dangerous driving behaviour. An Event Data Recorder (EDR) records vehicle data in the seconds before and after a possible accident.
As technological developments continue exponentially, more and more regulations are also being drafted to accompany these developments. One of the latest and most prominent examples of this is the introduction of mandatory Event Data Recorders (EDRs), also known as 'black boxes', in vehicles. This obligation, adopted by the European Union, is intended to improve road safety, but also raises questions about privacy and data security.
The minister states that the black box does not contain any data with which the vehicle, owner or driver can be identified. According to the minister, the EDR data are intended to analyze road safety and to evaluate the effectiveness of the specific measures taken, without the owner or owner of a specific vehicle being able to be identified on the basis of the stored data.
Insurers state that in order to offer modern products and services, they need more information. Until recently, insurers only worked with data from the past, supplied by policyholders. The collection of data by the vehicle and the ability to share it in real time means that insurers can now have much more accurate and up-to-date data. Insurers use this type of data to continue and further develop products and services. It goes without saying that, for the time being, insurers can only access this data with the consent of the consumer. After all, it is the consumer who should be in control of this data.
The police still find out the causes through time-consuming analyzes and witness statements. The Dutch Association of Insurers believes that a competent authority, such as the police, should increasingly be able to use data from an Event Data Recorder (EDR) to draw up accident reports. If the EDR (black box) is read directly by an independent body, such as the police, the data about the moment shortly before and at the time of the accident are reliable. If insurers gain access to this data via the police, they can quickly form an opinion about liability. Both insured parties and victims benefit from rapid claims handling. The rapid determination of liability is an essential part of this.
In principle, the data belongs to the driver or owner. The starting point for insurers is also that the customer is in the driver's seat. The consumer is in control of almost all vehicle data. For example, the consumer must be able to freely decide where and with which parts the car is repaired, where the car is insured and what happens to his or her data. This freedom ensures competition between suppliers and a car industry in which companies keep each other sharp. The consumer benefits from this.
In court, the story can look very different regarding the ownership rights of the data. The EDR data is usually read by order of a judge or the public prosecutor's office. The driver does not always have to give permission for this, because in the interest of criminal prosecution, this outweighs the interest in individual data protection.
Car manufacturers see it differently. Peugeot does emphasize that the manufacturer is 'owner of the data'. BMW believes that it is already properly informing its customers about the data collection. Moreover, the BMW driver can indicate which 'third parties' may use the data. Volvo is more reserved. After consultation with the Swedish head office, the importer says that it wants to give other service providers access to 'selected' data that is 'not directly traceable' to an individual owner.
The introduction of mandatory EDRs in vehicles represents an important step forward in efforts to improve road safety. This technology can provide invaluable information that can help reduce accidents and improve safety standards. At the same time, there are legitimate concerns about privacy and data security. It is important that regulators strike a balance between these two aspects, ensuring that individuals' rights and freedoms are respected while striving for greater road safety.