Expansion of electronic monitoring needs extreme caution
In the April 13 edition of the Citizen, Tim Schewe’s Drivesmart column assessed the potential use of electronic vehicle monitoring in establishing ICBC rates.
While many of us might agree that careless or reckless driving should result in higher rates I would suggest we proceed towards electronic monitoring with extreme caution. Are we really advocating providing insurers and governments with this kind of data and trusting them to make good decisions?
Former constable Mr. Schewe already seems comfortable with assessing higher rates for those who are compelled to commute at peak hours over more treacherous roads. If penalizing those choices is reasonable then why stop with auto insurance? Why not utilize similar apps to more equitably determine rates for our Medical Services Plan. Surely one’s consumption of processed foods, alcohol, tobacco and recreational drugs can be tracked. No doubt my Fitbit will be happy to share when I miss my step goal or permit my body mass index to rise.
Yes, my MSP example is not entirely fair, driving is a privilege and health care is a right. That said we need to be careful when advocating the use of electronic monitoring by governments and businesses. If we fail to protect our privacy we’ll soon find individuals and groups seeking to use our information to influence elections.
Worse yet Mr. Schewe’s former colleagues in the constabulary may find themselves wearing chest-mounted cameras that not only record the officer’s occasional use of a stern word or expression but also knows when they’ve overstayed their coffee break at Timmy’s.