Privacy and Vehicle Travel

Privacy.org points to a Boston.com article that discusses recent privacy concerns about the upcoming implementation of E-ZPass (electronic toll collection) in New Hampshire:

The E-ZPass system that will soon make it easier to pay tolls in New Hampshire will make it easier to track people’s movements, privacy advocates warn.

State officials say strict policies are in place to prevent that, and stress that E-ZPass will be voluntary. They also say the system will reduce traffic congestion and put off the need to expand the current toll plazas.

PrivacySpot pointed to a similar article today (from US News) which lists new gadgets that collect information on speed, braking, acceleration, location of cars which are targeted to parents who want to keep better tabs on their kids’ activities and driving habits. This article makes no mention of any privacy concerns (there’s no guarantee that such tools would be used only in parent-child relationships).

Both of these articles bring to light many of the growing privacy concerns related to advances in both information & automotive technology. Similarly, my own research has explored the privacy implications of a new technology called Vehicle Safety Communications, which rely on the creation of autonomous, self-organizing, peer-to-peer wireless communication networks – so-called ad-hoc networks – connecting vehicles with roadside infrastructure and with each other. I am presenting a paper on this topic at “Science and Technology in Context: An Interdisciplinary Graduate Student Conference” next month, and will post my paper later this week.

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