Drivers, your own car is already fighting you!

Did you know that your car, like your computer or smartphone, is a bountiful supplier of increasingly valuable digital information (also known as data, in other words, intangible information about you because of you)…so much so that some experts already do they believe the car is more profitable than itself? “Data generated by more than 200 sensors installed in each connected vehicle to monitor speed, location, tire pressure or battery charge […] give car manufacturers an unprecedented insight into the real performance of their cars,” explains the Automotive Platform, which brings together the sector in France. It’s hard to avoid: the natural renewal of the fleet results in the addition of millions of cars. several years (according to Statista, 2017 800,000 per year, and 9 million in 2021).

Against the background of an unprecedented crisis (decline in sales, shortage of components, war in Ukraine, etc.), it will be able to provide ultra-connectivity of the vehicles it produces, and therefore an almost unlimited number of services. data it will collect and exploit, which the automotive industry intends to protect, among other things. That’s great, but what does the driver get?

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Security, that’s undeniable. On-board electronics have enabled the development of safety-enhancing functions (ABS, anti-skid ESP, blind spot or drowsiness detection, e-Call emergency call system, etc.) to make vehicles more reliable or to facilitate your journeys (GPS). and so on.).

But that’s the upside of the coin. Because the fast hyper-connectivity of our cars is already able to inform us. Our association remains vigilant because it will not take long for the excesses, some of which have already been exposed. I share with you three questions that we have identified as sources of irritation (understatement) for drivers in the future:

– From July 2022 for new models, and from 2024 for all new cars, manufacturers are required to install a black box on board, which is responsible for recording the 30 seconds before the accident and the 30 seconds after it. Soothing on paper, but it raises big questions. Example: you are driving at a speed of 82 km/h, two kilometers per hour over the speed limit. A drunk driver cuts you off. What’s to stop his client’s insurance from claiming you were speeding and responsible despite having 3 grams of alcohol in your blood?


“Let’s denounce privatized radar machines that anonymously police motorists!”

– In an article published in February 2021,, which acquired a database from a subsidiary of Michelin, first described the state’s “national database of official speed limits” (as well as an accident analysis tool), this valuable source of information, as well as the location of its own radars. to enable “optimization”. Where do accidents happen the most? It would make sense to anyone who wants to link automated cruise control to road safety, but we’re clearly a long way from that. Rather, “where experienced speeds and traffic are the highest” defines this extremely well-informed site. The dangerous thing is that after observing our own comings and goings, this information is extremely reliable…

– In 2019, the CNIL was accused of keeping data for too long, warning the Ministry of the Interior about divisional radars and releasing them to the public. Indeed, these radars do not indicate the instantaneous speed, but the average speed over a section. Therefore, they capture all traffic entering and leaving the section. However, the CNIL further highlighted that “non-offending vehicle plates are kept longer than the expected twenty, more than 13 months for full plates, and more than 4 years for truncated two-character plates – a four-hour deadline,” according to the government’s 2013 the deadline it adopted in 2008, the same CNIL considered the initial delay of seven days already too long. Up to four years instead of 24 hours…

It’s not science fiction anymore

Even as the Data Act (a European regulation on data exchange and sharing due in 2024) aims to strictly regulate access to our data, these three examples of overreach are symptomatic of the risks we face behind the wheel of connected cars. But the line between real risks in the field and fantasized fears remains tenuous. Currently, insurers cannot access our driving behavior data to “adjust” their car premiums (Decree 2021-442 of April 14, 2021 already gives them access to data on connected vehicles involved in road accidents, L’Argus de l It mentions ‘Assurance, “to determine the compensation necessary for the application of the relevant insurance contract”).

Till what time? Currently, our Linky meter doesn’t charge you much when you “refuel” at home by plugging in your electric car. Till what time? For now, the police can’t go around in pants and punish the smallest behavior from afar. Till what time? So many questions that are no longer completely science fiction… Maître Jean-Baptiste Le Dall, a lawyer specializing in traffic law, reminds us that “after the dieselgate incident in 2015, there was talk of the authorities being able to make the car read. data directly from each vehicle’s diagnostic (OBD) slot. At first, the text was extremely large, which led to the fear that agents could come, connect and discover the entire OBD. place and date, but why not, tomorrow or tomorrow.

Reread 1984 by George Orwell. His Big Brother already watching us, including behind the wheel.

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Tolls, fuel, car prices…: motorists on the verge of eruption

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