Can we be smart and private: Intelligent Transportation Systems

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Introduction of vehicle communication will enable a broad range of applications to make driving safer, more efficient, and more comfortable. This, however, creates enormous risks for drivers' privacy. This session will discuss privacy issues in cooperative ITS from a European and US perspective addressing both technical and political/legal aspects.


  • Frank Kargl: Associate Professor, Distributed and Embedded Security at University of Twente in the Netherlands. Moderator.

11:00-11:15: European Perspective and the ITS Action Plan

  • Antonio Kung: Co-Chair, eSafety Forum eSecurity Working Group in Trialog, France.

11:15-11:30: The Challenge of ITS for the Law of Privacy in the United States 

  • Frank Douma: Assistant Director, Hubert H. Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs at the University of Minnesota.

11:30-11:45: Technical Solution Approaches 

11:45-12:00: A US and OEM perspective on technical solutions

  • Tom Schaffnit: President, Vehicle Safety Communications 3 Consortium (VSC3).

12:00-12:30: Panel discussion and Q&A from the audience.

Detailed Description

Cooperative Intelligent Transportation System imply that vehicles get equipped with communication facilities to enable dissemination of its status to other participants, be it other vehicles or road-side equipment.

This enables numerous applications. Vehicles can warn each other about accidents, insurance companies can base their insurance fees on the driving behavior of vehicle owners (PAYD insurance), and navigation system providers can predict traffic flows based on real-time data received by a large number of vehicles. 

While those applications can provide many benefits that make driving safer, greener, and more comfortable, the drawback is that a lot of personal information is revealed. Vehicle positions, trip destinations, or driving style can be derived from those information. All stakeholders have realized that proper privacy protection is mandatory for successful market introduction of such systems. 

Different research projects and working groups address the privacy issue in ITS. It is the aim of this panel to present different viewpoints and on-going activities from both the US and Europe and to have a lively discussion with session participants about privacy requirements and privacy protection mechanisms for ITS.


11:00-11:15: European Perspective and the ITS Action Plan  Antonio Kung, Co-Chair eSafety Forum eSecurity Working Group, Trialog, France

Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS) bring the promise of more safety, comfort, security, environment preservation and energy consumption reduction. However, the resulting increase in electronics and communications is raising security and privacy issues that could jeopardize deployment.

The eSecurity Working Group was set up in Europe within the eSafety Forum ( to discuss vulnerability aspects of electronics and communications in road transport and provide recommendations related to the European ITS action plan. This presentation will present status of discussions concerning privacy issues, the need for a widely adopted privacy-by-design approach, and the need for a consensus building approach to adopt evolving privacy enhancing technologies.

11:15-11:30: The Challenge of ITS for the Law of Privacy in the United States Frank Douma, Hubert H. Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs, University of Minnesota

As Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) incorporate data-gathering and compiling systems into the transportation infrastructure, new privacy implications stemming from the potential misallocation or abuse of collected data have been created. The United States currently has no comprehensive national regulatory structure for privacy, but rather addresses privacy concerns through a variety of sources of federal and state law. Areas where privacy law could impact ITS projects and technologies include the following: constitutional privacy protections from criminal prosecution, the developing legal distinctions of reasonable privacy expectations, the role of evolving surveillance technologies in defining privacy rights, the evolution of vicarious criminal liability theories, and the use of tort law in the remediation of privacy violations.

Douma will present his recently published toolbox and taxonomy, which address these ITS issues by first examining the type of information collected, the consent options available, and whether the collector is a public or private actor. These factors will then be applied to various existing ITS as a level of privacy expectation and legal protection associated with them. ITS developers will utilize this toolbox and taxonomy in navigating the current legal landscape with their emerging technologies.

The majority of current developments in U.S. privacy law are taking place on a case-by-case basis through the judicial system. However, there is evidence that privacy law in the United States is undergoing a paradigm shift in response to data collection by new technologies, and the privacy concerns raised by the deployment of ITS are just one of the factors giving rise to a movement towards a more comprehensive privacy regime instead of a reactionary piecemeal approach.

11:30-11:45: Technical Solution Approaches Johann-Christoph Freytag, Humboldt University, Germany

The talk discusses general privacy principles that have guided the EU project PRECIOSA in its approach to develop and implement a privacy aware ITS platform. We highlight the important design decisions and describe how the privacy awareness is guaranteed. Furthermore we also point out further privacy challenges in the ITS domain that need additional research.

11:45-12:00: A US and OEM perspective on technical solutions Tom Schaffnit, Crash Avoidance Metrics Partnership (CAMP) Vehicle Safety Communications 3 Consortium (VSC3)

Automobile manufacturers have a strong commitment to protect the privacy of their customers. This is driven by customers’ fundamental need for privacy in conjunction with the freedom associated with vehicle ownership and the nearly unrestricted use of the public roadways. New ITS vehicle safety communications systems are being considered that would allow vehicles to communicate with each other and with roadside units in order to prevent crashes. This presentation describes the system design considerations that are being incorporated to protect privacy.

12:00-12:30: Panel discussion and Q&A from the audience.