European Parliament wants spy box in car
Privacy First considers legal action.
Against all privacy concerns, the European Parliament voted this week for mandatory introduction of the eCall system in new cars. This system poses a direct threat to the privacy of every motorist. If the European Council (i.e. a majority of EU member states) also agrees to the European Parliament's proposal, eCall will become mandatory for all new European cars by October 2015. Privacy First demands that eCall become voluntary rather than mandatory and will initiate legal proceedings to this end if necessary.
Through eCall, 112 emergency services are automatically called in the event of a road accident. However, the eCall alarm system also leaves a trail of location data without the motorist's prior consent. Indeed, the system is compulsorily fitted and there is no on/off button on it, but it continuously leaves traces (metadata) in surrounding GSM networks. This constitutes a flagrant violation of the right to privacy and anonymity in public spaces. Moreover, the system will be able to be used for other purposes and by organisations other than purely road safety, including by the police and judiciary, insurance companies, tax authorities, secret services and possibly even criminal groups. However, there has been hardly any public debate around possible eCall deployment. Mandatory introduction is therefore not only unlawful, but also undemocratic. After the Dutch population massively rejected road pricing with its spy boxes a few years ago, the same population now threatens to be saddled with spy boxes in their cars via a European backdoor. This is unworthy of a democratic constitutional state like the Netherlands.
Privacy First intervenes as soon as the right to privacy is in danger of being massively violated. If the eCall system is mandatorily introduced in the Netherlands, Privacy First will file a lawsuit to undo this. Privacy First is prepared to litigate all the way to the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg for this purpose and views the outcome of such a case with confidence.