GPS tracking of insured drivers is nothing new to the industry. The proliferation of usage-based-insurance programs began some years ago. However, that does little to alleviate concerns that the technology could potentially be used for less than ethical purposes. Providers and government continue to dig into the privacy of everyday U.S. citizens. The possibility of data abuse leaves a dark cloud over these programs.
This application is nothing new to the GPS tracking industry. The monitoring of insured drivers has existed for some time now; in particular Usage-Based-Insurance. The basic premise behind these various programs is that premiums fluctuate based on driving habits, metrics, and analytics. Drivers that are a lesser insurance risk receive lower premiums, and the opposite for higher-risk drivers. On the surface, perhaps a noble program instituted by insurance providers with the best of intentions. However, times have recently changed.
In the last few years, in regard to insured driver monitoring, the GPS tracking landscape has been altered. The government has been working diligently to design a method of taxing its citizens based on miles driven, and the manner in which they drive them. Government overreaching into the private lives of its citizens is now rampant in many countries. Not only can mileage be tracked but, perhaps unknown to the individual, there exists an even greater threat that additional data can be tracked and compiled. Imagine receiving a surprise speeding ticket in the mail, or perhaps a ticket for failing to come to a complete stop at an intersection.
Whenever data is stored, there exists the possibility that the data could be mined and used for purposes other than initially intended. In this particular case, auto-insurance providers are collecting GPS tracking data on individual driving habits, and are storing that data on remote servers. The government need only appear with a subpoena or, worse yet, simply hack into the database and take what they want. It is a scary thought indeed.
GPS tracking data and services can be an extremely positive and useful technology, if utilized for legitimate purposes. However, one need not travel far to cross that invisible line in the sand. Sadly, there is simply too much money at stake for these kinds of programs to be shuttered and abandoned. Without a shadow of a doubt, there are insurance providers that offer attractive programs with absolutely no intention of misusing the data that they collect. Nonetheless, the best of intentions frequently are not enough.