Nye Veier registers motorists’ mobile phones – Norwegian Data Protection Authority concerned

E6Traffic on the E6.Photo: Geir Olsen / NTB scanpix
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The road company Nye Veier records the mobile phones of motorists on several highways to measure traffic and speed. The Norwegian Data Protection Authority is now concerned about the development.

The records have already been introduced along parts of the E39 in Agder and the E6 in Hedmark and Trøndelag and are planned to be introduced on various sections soon, writes NRK.

The analysis is carried out using the registration system for Bluetooth devices that pass through the different measuring points. 

When the same Bluetooth device has passed two measurement points, the travel time is calculated, and then the data is analyzed to document the average travel time at different moments. According to New Roads, all data is coded and truncated so that the individual records are not readable.

However, Atle Årnes, Director of Technology at the Norwegian Data Protection Authority, responds to the practice; he believes that despite encryption and truncation, one will be able to connect an individual who has traveled through the same place and time on previous occasions. Therefore, it is the processing of personal data and its regulatory framework that must be safeguarded.

“The simple fact of starting and deploying sensors in the public domain makes us react. We are not going to have it for you to be monitored all the time. Anonymously counting the number of people at a single point can be done without challenging privacy,” says Årnes.

Nye Veier says that independent evaluations have been made to determine whether the European Data Protection Regulation GDPR applies to the measure, but that they will enter a dialogue with the Norwegian Data Protection Authority if they believe that further measures are needed to ensure privacy.

© NTB Scanpix / #Norway Today

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