Deutscher Verkehrsgerichtstag

“German Traffic Court Day,” a misleading calque. This is apparently a fruitful annual meeting of traffic experts, from government and academia, organized by an e.V. association.

This year’s topics included “Data Protection in Cars.” The president of the host association called for regulation of information protection in automobiles, saying modern cars contain up to 80 devices that record data, such as navigation systems and even airbags. He said at the moment it’s not clear whether these collected data belong to the car manufacturers or the drivers.

Cars with airbags, for example, collect information about how fast we’re driving and whether we’re alone. Onboard sensors record whether passengers are wearing a seatbelt. Courts are already hiring I.T. experts to read cars and car toys to determine whether drivers are telling the truth in hit-and-run cases. In leased electric vehicles, companies can remotely shut down the battery if payments are in arrears. A luxury S.U.V. in Cologne managed to trap an alleged car thief inside until police arrived, even though he tried to kick out doors and windows. Customers already using products that reroute them around Germany’s ubiquitous traffic jams by constantly pinging their cars’ locations can have their data unethically used for marketing and other purposes if no legislation controlling this is crafted.

In 2015 all new cars in Germany are scheduled to be equipped with “eCall,” a 911-type emergency services function that will automatically call for help after the car is in an accident but that can also be used to locate any one of these cars at any time. An E.U. press release about eCall said the system doesn’t transmit data about its users because it is usually “sleeping.”

(Doytcha   fair CARES g’RICHHTS tochh.)

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