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Privacy critical to engendering trust in the use of C-ITS

12 March 2014

To coincide with changes to the Privacy Act which commence today, TCA emphasised the need to uphold strict privacy safeguards in order to progress the wider use of telematics and C-ITS applications.

TCA is currently hosting international representatives working on behalf of the European Commission and United States Department of Transportation – as part of its active participation in an EU-US Harmonisation Task Group (HTG) on the international deployment of Cooperative Intelligent Transportation Systems (C-ITS) – and privacy is a key element driving the security discussion underway.

“Until recently, concerns about privacy management were primarily the domain of privacy commissioners and expert commentators in the field. Now, with the increased use of telematics – including the emergence of C-ITS applications – we’re observing a far greater dialogue on the importance of privacy and information management in the transport sphere and beyond,” said TCA Chief Executive Officer, Chris Koniditsiotis.

“One reason the need for appropriate privacy safeguards is poorly understood by many stakeholders is that the implications to individuals – from the inappropriate and/or undeclared use of data which has been recorded, stored and transmitted from telematics services – have not been fully anticipated.”

“The use of telematics has increased dramatically over a short period. So much so, that telematics services which continuously record, transmit and store data about vehicles (and drivers) are now being rapidly deployed in passenger vehicles for purposes as diverse as driver support, fleet management and even the calculation of insurance premiums based on when and how people drive,” said Mr Koniditsiotis.

“Telematics and C-ITS, by their very nature, have the ability to collect, record, transmit and store vehicle, driver and consignment information at very high-frequency intervals.”

“It’s significant, therefore, that the Intelligent Access Program (IAP), which has been established and is administered by TCA as part of the National Telematics Framework, contains strong privacy protection and data management requirements in the Heavy Vehicle National Law (HVNL).”

“In fact, so critical is the need to ensure IAP information is protected, the HVNL enshrines deliberate roles, responsibilities and accountability between road agencies, transport operators, IAP Service Providers and TCA. This ensures that road agencies and regulators are not able to obtain access to vehicle tracking information, simply because it is available.”

The need for strong privacy and data protection management was also highlighted in the Operational Report on Electronic Work Diaries (EWD), the Final Report Operational Pilot of Electronic Work Diaries and Speed Monitoring Systems released in August 2013, and both the Discussion Paper and Final Policy Paper on Cooperative Intelligent Transport Systems, released by the NTC in November 2012 and December 2013 respectively.

“Without strong privacy protection safeguards to support the future use of telematics and C-ITS applications, stakeholders will reserve the right to question how their information will be used, and under what circumstances,” said Mr Koniditsiotis.

“C-ITS, particularly with respect to the V2V and V2I communications, has recognised the critical importance of privacy and security by integration into the core design.”

“Unless privacy is positioned right at the heart of policy and technological reform deliberations, the potential to realise further productivity and safety gains through the use of C-ITS diminishes and may hold back the reform agenda and its wider adoption,” said Mr Koniditsiotis.