Newer UK car models will be fitted with hidden GSM devices

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The eCall system will work all over the European Union. The device itself won’t add too much to the final car price tag: it is expected that it will increase the cost of cars with at least £100. However, there are already groups of people that are concerned about the price increase and about the most important issue: possible privacy issues.

The eCall system aims to reduce the time it takes since a crash occurs until medical services are provided. In case of airbags being deployed eCall will automatically send a text message with precise crash locations. Furthermore, all cares equipped with an eCall system will have an SOS button. Pressing this button will call the nearest eCall specially trained operator (through 999). The reason why this generates privacy concerns is because officials fear Police or insurance companies might also be able to use the system to find drivers’ every move. Officials from the Department of Transport are opposing the policy based on cost reasons and based on the fear that it could provide a way to spy on vehicles.

The EU Parliament voted eCall last month and a draft of the law will be published in the next few weeks. Britain is trying to push back the deadline until when new cars must be fitted with the GSM system by two years.

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