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Web-Connected Cars Bring Privacy Concerns

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A web-connected car.

Privacy advocates worry that the information generated by web-connected automobiles should be owned by the motorist, rather than open to car companies, software developers, and the police.

Credit: Intel

In the near future, automobiles are expected to be linked into wireless networks capable of tapping into large volumes of data that vehicles will produce about themselves and motorists. New connectivity in the form of calling systems, streaming video, cameras, and apps may enable car companies, software developers, and even police officers to have access to such information, privacy advocates fear.

More than 60 percent of vehicles globally will be directly connected to the Internet by 2017, up from 11 percent last year, predicts ABI Research; in North America and Europe, that percentage could reach 80 percent.

Proposed U.S. federal highway safety rules are calling for all new cars by 2014 to be equipped with black boxes that record crash data, prompting privacy groups to urge that the data be declared to be owned by the motorist, with authorities having access to it under certain conditions.

"The cars produce literally hundreds of megabytes of data each second," says Ford technologist John Ellis. "The technology is advancing so much faster than legislation or business models."

From The Washington Post
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Abstracts Copyright © 2013 Information Inc., Bethesda, Maryland, USA


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