One of the goals of this year's Computers Freedom and Privacy conference is to ask the question, "Can we be 'smart' and private?" Wednesday's panel on Intellegent Transportation Systems (ITS) asks, As we make driving safer, more efficient and more comfortable, how can we at the same time protect the privacy of drivers?
Panel moderator Frank Kargl, Associate Professor, Distributed and Embedded Security at University of Twente in the Netherlands gave a brief introduction to the ITS concept. The stated goal of ITS is to increase safety, efficiency, and comfort of drivers. For example, a driver traveling on a foggy road could, through ITS be alerted to an accident ahead. In these systems vehicles communicate to other vehicles, things like speed, and direction. Kargl also promoted an upcoming workshop on this issue taking place in Berlin this July. Details here.
Each panelist then gave a short presentation sharing his perspective on ITS.
European Perspective and the ITS Action Plan
Antonio Kung, Co-Chair, eSafety Forum eSecurity Working Group in Trialog in France began his talk by acknowledging the European Commission for providing his slide materials. The current policy initiative for ITS Action Plan to be adopted by parliament includes four areas:
There have been a few European Commission Initiatives related to ITS:
Some of the impact of the privacy community on the ITS Action Plan thus far has been come from the Article 29 Working Group in 2006 with the recommendation that users be allowed to disable communication boxes in cars. Also, in 2009, EDPS provided an opinion on the ITS directive encouraging "Privacy by Design," or integration of privacy features and privacy enhancing technology at the design level.
The Challenge of ITS for the Law of Privacy in the United States
Frank Douma, Assistant Director, Hubert H. Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs at the University of Minnesota provided an American legal perspective on the ITS issue. He described one main problem in the US as the existence of an apparent gap in the perception of privacy rights and what Americans' legal privacy rights are. Actual privacy law at the federal level defines these rights much more narrowly than many people perceive. Some states do however have more broadly defined privacy laws. The toolbox developed by the ITS Institute at the University of Minnesota emphasizes consent and limitations on use of collected data.
Technical Solution Approaches
A US and OEM perspective on technical solutions
Tom Schaffnit, president of Vehicle Safety Communications 3 Consortium (VSC3) made his presentation last. The VSC3 is working with a consortium of several auto companies to develop ITS with the main goal of auto accident prevention and they are working cooperatively with United States Department of Transportation on a pilot project to be implemented in 2012. This cooperative safety system is designed with an attempt at balancing Safety, Security, and Privacy. The pilot program uses vehicle communication and GPS as a new sort of safety sensor, sending data to other vehicles. He described this option as low cost, making it a viable across the full market. Schaffnit emphasized the project's "privacy by design" goals: short range communications, privacy of individuals, privacy from peers, and privacy from "big brother."
Short range communications:
Privacy of individuals:
Privacy from peers:
Privacy from big brother:
During the Q&A portion of the session, blogger Ed Hasbrouck, asked the panelists what lessons should be taken from air travel programs that he defined as government surveillance systems, to prevent ITS from becoming another way to track citizens' movements. The panelists agreed that the "privacy by design" concept was important in meeting this goal. If the system is designed not to survey, then it would be difficult to use it to that end.
In closing, each panelist gave what he thought should be the next action to achieve ITS privacy:
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