Serious Privacy Concerns Brewing Due To Vehicle Monitoring Systems


FOVARF-00001581-001The fourth largest auto insurance provider in the United States has filed a federal lawsuit averring motor vehicle monitoring system patent infringement. This has brought to spotlight the many privacy concerns that arise due to this system. This system has been designed to collate data about the customer’s driving practices. The information thus collected is used during programs for ticket and accident forgiveness. This information has also proven to be useful to determine the premiums for the most recent ‘pay as you drive’ insurance.

Progressive Corp., an auto insurance provider based in Ohio, has filed this lawsuit accusing Liberty Mutual Group Inc. based in Massachusetts of patent infringement. The patent for this vehicle monitoring system was obtained by Progressive Corp in the year 2000. This system has proven to be very beneficial since it collates a lot of critical data such as speed, mileage and location in addition to many others that help in calculating the driver’s safety score. As per the lawsuit, the Ohio casualty unit of Liberty Mutual uses this technology as a part of the Safeco Program which is termed as ‘Rewind’.

There have been numerous inventions and innovations made in recent times that has changed how the auto insurance industry works. There are many other alternatives to determine the rates for the ‘pay as you drive’ products. The rates can be arrived at without using any tracking devices which infringe the privacy of a person. MileMeter, an auto insurance provider based in Dallas that offers per mile auto insurance has over 100 patents to its credit. The best part is that this company does not use any kind of tracking device in any of its patents. According to MileMeter’s founder and president, Chris Gay, in addition to invading the privacy of customers, the tracking device also increases the cost of the auto insurance. Gay also went on to mention that intellectual properties are assets to companies. He said that they applaud Progressive’s decision to defend its investment.

MileMeter is a company that was founded in the year 2008. It is the only auto insurance provider in the United States to offer the most accurate pay per mile policy to its customers. When they opt for these policies, drivers have to pay only for a specific number of miles and when they exceed those miles they will have to buy more. The premiums for these policies are calculated based on the vehicle, age and location of the driver.