In an article the other day (Is Privacy Worth Sacrificing to Save on Insurance? – Wheels Blog – NYTimes.com), we read about the possibility of personalized insurance that is made possible by little box that you plug into your car that collects information about your driving. For instance, it can see how much you are driving. The idea here is that if you don’t drive much, you should pay less insurance.
There are questions here about how insurance companies aggregate their risks, and whether it is fair to personalize policies to such an extent. But I’m not so interested in them.
More interesting is the potential invasion of privacy here, and the question as to whether the law should intervene, or whether people should be allowed to sell their privacy for cheaper car insurance. On the one hand, we are all grown ups and can make decisions for ourselves; on the other, though, we are not always aware of the implications of our decisions, especially when we hand over personal information to a third party. Just as the information held in cell phones is sometimes used by rowing couples, could the information relayed by the little box in your car serve to expose parts of your life you would rather keep to yourself?