Insurance data could put driver privacy at risk: Research

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BEER-SHEVA, ISRAEL — Researchers at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev have demonstrated that it’s possible to compromise a driver’s private information that has been stored in the cloud for insurance-based telematics, otherwise known as Usage-Based Insurance (UBI) programs.

The programs base insurance premiums on driving parameters such as driving time and average speed, and are increasingly feeding the data into cloud-based storage systems.

Researchers at the university, however, demonstrated how a computer algorithm could capture private data on top of what is supplied to the insurance companies, without using GPS information.

“Based on our research, an attacker only needs one part of the information provided to a UBI company to discover a driver’s whereabouts, home, work, or who they met with,” said Michael Segal, a professor with the university’s department of communication systems engineering. “As connected vehicle networks become more widely used to collect driver data and provide information or entertainment, the opportunity for someone to uncover private information will also increase.”

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John G. Smith is Newcom Media's vice-president - editorial, and the editorial director of its trucking publications -- including Today's Trucking,, and Transport Routier. The award-winning journalist has covered the trucking industry since 1995.

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