At first, you may think I’m talking about a future dystopian world; from April 2018 every new car sold in Europe (including those in my little Brexit nation) will be fitted with a tracking device. Now, before mass panic sets in let’s clear up what exactly the new eCall pan-European legislation is and is not.
What it is:
- A system to automatically notify the emergency services in the event of an accident
- Aimed at helping crash victims who are left unconscious
- It only transmits a limited set of data on being triggered sensors on the car e.g. airbag
- The agreed minimum data includes GPS location, VIN (vehicle identification number) and engine type (petrol, diesel, electric, etc.).
- Only applicable to new car sold in the EU from April 2018
What it is not:
- It does not ‘steam’ live data of your location or driving habits
- It does not publicly share the data with anyone beyond the emergency services
- It will not be retro-fitted to new cars sold before April 2018
So are there any data privacy concerns, is ‘Big Brother’ watching? Well the European Commission website says, “We are frequently getting contacted by citizens concerned that by having eCall installed in their vehicles, their location will be continuously tracked, their driving habits monitored and their private life infringed.”, They then go on to direct you to a link entitled “eCall – Do you have any concerns for your privacy? You shouldn't….” so I guess that answers that concern or at least until April 2018.
In a previous article, I talked about Aga ovens, IoT-enabled, that can easily be hacked prompting the question, "why bother connecting it in the first place." eCall is the first example I have seen that will impact all of us in a positive way, if in the unfortunate event of an accident, and demonstrates the true value of an often over-hyped Internet of Things (IoT).
What is eCALL? The European Union has mandated that by March 2018 – just 12 months from now, all new cars approved to be sold in the EU must have the capability to make an automated call to the emergency services in the case of an accident.