Fleet News

Civil liberties warning over black box systems

CIVIL liberties organisation Liberty has warned fleet managers that fitting 'black box' data recorders to vehicles can be intrusive and insulting to staff. The warning coincided with advice from industry experts that black box technology represents a 'double-edged sword' for fleets.

Their views follow the initiative by contract hire giant GE Capital Fleet Services to fit a Data Collection Unit to every new lease vehicle it supplies from November 1. The DCU is the essential ingredient in a service that will help GECFS ensure vehicles are serviced on time. But other software applications enable fleets both to record their vehicles' movements, including date, time, speed and destination, and to locate stolen vehicles.

A spokeswoman for Liberty said this represented a move towards a 'surveillance society'. 'This technology is useful in fighting crime, but many employees find excessive surveillance both intrusive and rather insulting. They feel their privacy is being invaded and their boss doesn't trust them. This could lead to decreased productivity and increased staff turnover,' she said.

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