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Anonymized gps data can be troubling. For example:

If I was an insurance company having to pay a claim. I could buy the GPS data, look at some anonymous GPS device that constantly goes to/fro the house of the person in the accident, followed by noticing that this person was speeding a few miles an hr and denying claims or claiming more responsibility, even if it is not warrented.

The flip side is that it can be a good thing. Funny thing about speed traps though... Guy gets pulled over for speeding 10mph above limit. Claims that hes moving with traffic (60mph). Gets ticket. 10 min later gets pulled over for creating traffic going 50mph, the speed limit, and gets off with a warning after showing the original ticket.

End of the day, this is very tricky, can be good and bad for society. However in the end OnStar is profiting so its not intended to help anyone but OnStar.




Interesting case law here [1] where GPS was used to appeal a speeding ticket conviction.

[1] http://www.csmonitor.com/USA/2009/0911/p02s01-usgn.html


I always find these cases strange given that in court you can overturn a speeding ticket if the police officer can't provide a certificate of calibration for his speed trap device.

To apply the law equally, the driver can't provide a certificate of calibration for his GPS device so legally he's unable to prove that his GPS is giving an accurate speed measurement.


The law is not applied equally in court. By design, defense faces a much lower bar than prosecution. It is perfectly reasonable to require certified calibration to determine guilt, but accept data from an uncalibrated consumer device to overturn a ticket.

(As an aside, I don't think GPS would require any calibration anyway. If I understand it correctly, it'll pretty much either work or not work, with the accuracy of the output determined largely by atmospheric conditions and satellite geometry. The worry here would be deliberate tampering rather than calibration.)


There are other factors that can affect the accuracy of GPS; for example, receivers tend to be significantly less accurate in a CBD with lots of tall buildings. I've also seen receivers with an error before, eg. one that consistently reported itself as being 150m south of where it really was.

But I agree that by far the more significant problem would be deliberate alterations to the data. It doesn't seem like it would be particularly hard to do so...


At which point you're entering the realms of perjury, and probably several flavours of fraud, contempt, and other things that judges tend to dislike.

You're probably better off just paying the ticket.


Agreed, I'm not suggesting it's a particularly compelling option to deliberately falsify data for a court, but it could affect whether or not the court can consider GPS data to be sufficiently accurate - ie. even if the data is legitimate, how can the court know that's the case?


the main reason why you'd be able to overturn a speeding ticket in the first scenario you mentioned, is because the burden is on law enforcement to prove you are breaking the law. It's one of the last few bastions where the intangible burden of proof remains high and squarely placed on law enforcement.


In civil cases, it's not actually all that high. "Preponderence of the evidence" roughly means "it is more likely than not" the case that you are guilty of the alleged offense. "Beyond a reasonable doubt" only comes into play for criminal offenses.

Minor traffic offenses are civil, not criminal, so the much lower preponderence standard applies.


I purposely left it vauge because although minor thraffic offenses are civil (covering most speeding tickets) Other more serious traffic charges can be levied (driving with a suspended license, reckless driving, drunk driving)are considered criminal offenses. However the point remains that the burden in either instance is still in fact on law enforcement or the plaintiff in the civil proceedings most people are familiar with (i.e. johnson v pfizer)I know you know that already, but i just wanted to clarify for anyone else that have been mislead by my earlier post.




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