Germany: Starting April 1st cars will be monitored online with new eSIM cards. Privacy really is dead now.

Google translation:

From April 1: Online monitoring in the car – new cars must be equipped with eSIM cards

From 1 April 2018 all new cars must be equipped with eSIM cards. A new car turns into a rolling data center … and in 2015, Jim Farley, vice president at Ford, said, “We know every driver who breaks traffic rules, and because GPS is in the cars, we know where and how someone does it . “

From 1 April, all new cars must be equipped with electronic SIM cards. Behind this is the good intention to be reached faster in case of accidents by the rescue services.


So the cars are to get help quickly when the airbags was triggered – the on-board computer speaks to the control center of the emergency services and calls the 112 (if it still works). The accident data is transmitted automatically, including the number of (belted) occupants.

The technology is firmly installed in the vehicles and can not be switched off, explains “” . The possibility of the electronic emergency call eCall was decided in the EU regulation (pdf) L123 / 77 of 29 April 2015.

In this context, the diesel scandal and driving bans for older cars are interesting: many people are more or less politely forced to a new car or at least to a retrofit. It should not be forgotten that Chancellor Merkel declared in 2017 that in 20 years people will only be allowed to drive themselves with special permission.

Rolling data centers spying on us

According to EU data, the eSIM process could save more than 2,500 people on the road, “” says . At the same time, however, this also opens the door to possible abuse.

Which data is constantly retrieved and stored in a car? This collection is incomplete:

  • Climate data (temperature, opened windows, outside temperature, wind)
  • Speed ??of the car (the airbags, the ESP, anti-lock braking system)
  • Acceleration and handling, which gear is engaged, what is the accelerator pedal, load on the engine (Is it uphill? At higher load is a downshift recommended / at an automatic transmission this switches itself) …
  • daytime
  • Number of people in the car (how many seats are occupied, is the one buckled)
  • Fuel (how full is the tank?)
  • Tire pressure, brake strength, wear of brake pads …

In 2015 , Jim Farley, then Ford Europe CEO and today vice president at Ford in the US chatted in the context:

We know every driver who breaks the traffic rules. And because GPS is in the cars, we know where and how someone does that. “

The additional services are the problem

Volker Lüdemann, data protection expert at the University of Osnabrück, points out that although the legal emergency call is unproblematic under data protection law. However, “the additional services threaten to become the linchpin for all sorts of automotive data collectors.”

Since then each car has a mobile phone access, a location is easily possible, the cars are on the Internet and constantly online. Some of the up to 80 control data collected and evaluated by car electronics are certainly interesting for hackers.

For example, the European legislator is pursuing industrial policy purposes. The eCall is intended to be the technical platform for further computerization of the car “.

According to the EU Regulation, comprehensive additional services are to be offered around the emergency call system. This would be the real danger, explains the data protection expert. The strong privacy policy applies only to the emergency call – the additional services would not be covered.

These may be permanently connected to the network and could transmit data without restriction, “explains ” “ .

“We know when you went by red at the traffic light”

The eCall works only because every new car is equipped with the eSIM card at the same time (source: “” ):

  • a GPS receiver to determine the vehicle position
  • a GSM antenna to send the emergency call
  • a control unit for reporting the location
  • a crash sensor for detecting the type of accident
  • a handsfree device
  • an emergency power supply
  • a button for manually triggering the emergency call
  • a warning light that indicates the functioning of the system

The car becomes a fully monitored room, the SIM card a tracking and espionage device. Lawyers, journalists or doctors – and everyone else as well – can no longer hold open conversations in the car.

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