Feeds

Europe's prang-phone-in-every-car to cost €5m per life saved

MEPs demand eCall kit that dials 999 automatically

SANS - Survey on application security programs

Members of the European Parliament are backing calls for a mandatory eCall scheme, forcing every car sold in Europe to be fitted with an embedded mobile communications device to save an estimated 2,500 lives.

The European Commission has already adopted eCall, which mandates the fitting of a mobile device in every private car sold by 2015, but now the Parliament has passed a resolution pushing for legislation to turn it into a law, as voluntary adoption has been derisory, and extending the technology into (hitherto exempt) motorcycles and trucks too.

The embedded phone will automatically call the emergency services following an accident, reporting the location of the vehicle and force of the impact, but at a price the EU estimates at €100 per vehicle.

The law will only apply to new vehicles, so the money will be spent over a decade or so. Even if we assume the average cost is halved in that time there are almost 250 million cars in the EU that'll need replacing over the next 10 years, ringing up a €12.5bn bill.

One has to ask if it's really worth spending that much money to save 2,500 lives.

It could reduce injuries too, by as much as 15 per cent according to the proposal backed by Czech representative Olga Sehnalova and German Dieter-Lebrecht Koch and passed by the Parliament. But those figures assume aid will arrive faster when summoned automatically, as opposed to a call placed by a concerned bystander.

There isn't always a concerned bystander, or surviving passenger, handy, but in the vast majority of accidents there's someone about. One might even argue that bystanders will be less willing to place the call (and perhaps lend other support) when they know the vehicle will have summoned aid already – but perhaps we're being too cynical.

What is clear is that the insurance industry and police think this is a marvellous thing, being able to track people in the moments before an accident means cheaper premiums (for safer drivers) and easy placing of blame following an incident.

Even the MEPs accept that privacy protection will only go so far: "The resolution stresses that the eCall service must not be used to monitor a person’s movements or determine his or her location unless that person has been involved in an accident."

So once the call is placed then the car is free to report back on everything which happened up to that point.

And let's be clear: eCall might not mandate tracking but insurance companies are already offering cheaper policies to those who consent to it. Once the technology is embedded in every car they'll be no argument against agreeing, with insurance premiums which reflect that: a few curmudgeons might pay over the odds to avoid being monitored, for a while, but it will quickly become accepted as the price one pays for safer roads.

That's despite the fact that, in the UK, our roads are already among the safest in the world, but not as safe as they'll be once we've all shelled out an additional €100 for our cars, and drive in the knowledge that they'll sneak on us the minute we bump into someone else. ®

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
Obama allows NSA to exploit 0-days: report
If the spooks say they need it, they get it
Samsung Galaxy S5 fingerprint scanner hacked in just 4 DAYS
Sammy's newbie cooked slower than iPhone, also costs more to build
Putin tells Snowden: Russia conducts no US-style mass surveillance
Gov't is too broke for that, Russian prez says
Snowden-inspired crypto-email service Lavaboom launches
German service pays tribute to Lavabit
Mounties always get their man: Heartbleed 'hacker', 19, CUFFED
Canadian teen accused of raiding tax computers using OpenSSL bug
One year on: diplomatic fail as Chinese APT gangs get back to work
Mandiant says past 12 months shows Beijing won't call off its hackers
Call of Duty 'fragged using OpenSSL's Heartbleed exploit'
So it begins ... or maybe not, says one analyst
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Learn about three of the top mobile application security threats facing businesses today and recommendations on how to mitigate the risk.
Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
SANS - Survey on application security programs
In this whitepaper learn about the state of application security programs and practices of 488 surveyed respondents, and discover how mature and effective these programs are.