Françoise Gilbert and Raffaele Zallone on ‘Connect Cars – Recent Legal Developments’

This paper looks at recent changes in the (1) regulatory; (2) privacy and data protection landscape and (3) liability areas. Examples of developments affecting the connected car / intelligent car market in 2015 include:

1 – Regulatory Issues


Françoise Gilbert

Françoise Gilbert

California, District of Columbia, Florida, Michigan, and Nevada have laws that allow the use of the experimental vehicle for testing. They allow the use of vehicles for tests, and provided that an experienced driver is at the wheel. DC authorized the “autonomous cars”, but do not limit vehicle use only tests.

In January 2015, Germany announced that the A9 highway that connects Munich to Berlin would be equipped with technology that allows autonomouss car to communicate with other vehicles. Finland is preparing an amendment to its Road Traffic Act legislation to allow autonomous vehicles to be used in certain places and at certain times.

In April 2015, the European Parliament adopted the “e-call” system for the automatic composition of mandatory emergency call numbers in all vehicles. Starting in Spring 2018, the e-Call system will be installed on vehicles to automatically alert emergency services about the serious road accidents. It will allow road safety services to immediately decide the type and size of emergency vehicles needed for the operation, allowing them to arrive faster, saving lives, reducing the intensity and impact of injuries and reduce the cost of traffic jams.

2 – Data Privacy and Security Issues

Raffaele Zallone

Raffaele Zallone

Personal Data?
To what extent are data collected from a vehicle “personal data”, i.e. attributable to a specific individual How to Comply with basic Privacy Principles? Assuming that some of the data collected from or through the intelligent vehicle qualify as “personal data,” numerous issues arise, such as:

  1. Notice: How to inform individuals of the nature of the collection, processing or dissemination of personal data?
  2. Consent: How can the driver and the passengers express their consent or objection to the collection of data produced by their vehicle?
  3. Choice: How can individuals control whether or when their personal data is collected or used?
  4. Access by third parties: When and in which circumstances may the personal data be shared with third parties or reused for purposes other than the original purpose?
  5. Security: How will the security of personal data be protected when in use, in storage or in transit?

What will be the effect of the adoption of the EU General Data Protection Regulation? Location information could pose a significant problem. It could reveal clues about intimate details about a person, such as a medical condition.

Connected vehicles and intelligent vehicles rely on a vast ecosystem of specialized entities such as vendors, service providers, outsourcers, hosting companies, internet service providers that furnish the content, the data, and the connections, that are necessary for the vehicle to move safely, interact with the traffic, suggest or make decisions to and perform its primary functions. How to ensure data security?

3 – Liability Issues

In the US, the regime of liability for defective products (product liability law) is very complex. It involves concepts of contract law (contract law) and the law of torts and torts (tort law). Contract law is involved, for example, in the context of safeguards breaches. Tort law often uses the concept of “negligence”. The complainant must show that the defendant was negligent, for example, in the design or testing of the product. In some circumstances, US law uses the concept of “strict liability”, which can make the manufacturer responsible, even if he was not negligent.

The paper also examines recent cases of physical accidents with test vehicles (e.g. class action suits, etc.).

Françoise Gilbert and Raffaele Zallone will present Connect Cars – Recent Legal Developments on Friday, April 1st at 3:00 PM with discussant Dan Siciliano at the University of Miami Newman Alumni Center in Coral Gables, Florida.

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