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EU law bods: New eCall crash system WON'T TRACK YOU. Really

Why don't you trust us? *Cough* BND, GCHQ *cough*

By Jennifer Baker, 9 Dec 2014

No, your car won’t be spying on you, say MEPs, but it will call you an ambulance should you need it.

The European Parliament has reached a deal with national ministers to introduce a mandatory “eCall” system for all new cars from April 2018.

However, although the system would automatically call the 112 emergency number in the event of a crash, euro lawmakers say that cars will not be continuously tracked.

“It will be illegal to use eCall to track a driver’s movements or to misuse location data, which must be sent only to the emergency services,” said Olga Sehnalova, the Czech politician who helped broker the deal.

The proposed rules would also follow the principle of data-minimisation, with only basic details such as the class of vehicle, the type of fuel used, the time of the accident, and the exact location given to the emergency services.

Nor is any of the data gathered allowed to be passed on to third parties without the explicit consent of the person involved.

Clear information about the processing of eCall data would have to be included in the car owner's manual and available online, MEPs added.

The Parliamentary committee hopes the new system, which is free for all citizens, will cut down fatalities as ambulances will be able to get to accident scenes more quickly.

They also say it will reduce road congestion. If all goes well the scheme may be rolled out to other vehicles, such as buses, coaches or trucks. Approximately 26,000 people were killed on EU roads in 2013.

The agreement now needs to be formally approved by all EU member states, and finally Parliament as a whole, probably in March 2015. ®

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