Allstate Files Patent for Worrisome "Spy Car" Technology
Technology is offering all sorts of opportunities for analyzing data in ways that we never thought possible. Race teams are getting data points on some incredibly minuscule details to eek fractions of a second out of lap times. But does it also mean your insurance company can spy on you to find reasons to raise your rates? The Chicago Tribune has learned of a patent filed by insurance giant Allstate that would use sensors and cameras to monitor driver behavior, including instances of distracted driving. It would also monitor the number of passengers, and whether they are adults or children. RELATED: Carnegie Mellon Professor Combating Potholes with Technology
The report also suggests Allstate would want to gather this type of data from not just its own policy holders. It may want data on other drivers, as a reference to measure against its own policy holders.
The patent, dubbed, “traffic-based driving analysis,” is a rather alarming proposition. Even if a driver allowed Allstate to record his or her own driving habits, the proposed system would monitor other drivers around said car, recording driving data on other drivers who would be oblivious to the practice.
Allstate filed this patent a couple years back, but it plays into a more recent patent it received for a driving-behavior database. The insurer thinks the data gathered would be useful for everyone from health insurers to credit car companies.
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When we hear things like this, all we can conclude is that it is going to cost the consumer. There’s no way Allstate goes through this trouble to save the average driver a few bucks. It is looking for ways to call you a problem driver. And the data it records and then uses to raise your rates? Allstate will sell that data to your health insurance provider, so they can find ways to say your driving puts you at risk, and thusly raise your rates.
An August 11 patent filing takes things even further, as it seeks to record “the mental state of the driver, such as fatigue or intoxication.” The Tribune report notes that insurance companies have long recorded and retained data on its drivers, in-house. With the addition of products like Apple Car Plan and Android auto, other players could be recording dynamic vehicle data as well. The rationale is that Allstate is merely looking for a way to stay competitive, but we’ll let you come to your own conclusions about what this means for the future of car ownership.
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