OAI: Calif. Senate Forecasts Impact of Electronic Auto Insurance Proof on Privacy
Senators in California will discuss on Wednesday the privacy concerns raised in the analysis of an electronic insurance proof bill, highlighting similar, recently passed laws that also address what kind of content on a smartphones authorities have access to in the course of verifying coverage, according to Online Auto Insurance.

AB 1708 authorizes drivers to use electronic formats of proof of insurance coverage, usually displayed on smartphones. Most of the insurers that allow their customers to get car insurance policies online also offer electronic forms of coverage that can be uploaded onto a smartphone and presented to authorities.

The state Assembly passed the bill with three unanimous votes in April and May, but the new analysis articulates privacy concerns associated with the bill. 

Part of AB 1708 was written to allay such concerns by prohibiting officers who get a mobile phone with electronic proof displayed on it from accessing "any other content." But if AB 1708 is made law and put into practice, the analysis said inevitable scenarios will arise that the bill’s privacy-related provision does not resolve.

The analysis offered the example of "an unexpected text" arriving on a phone while an officer reviews a smartphone for electronic proof of coverage.

The analysis says the issue is what can be done with that information in criminal matters.

The analysis said that the state proposal’s privacy provision protects drivers from officers seizing phones to delve into its contents under the guise of attaining proof of coverage, but other laws may take precedence if an officer inadvertently sees criminal content on the phone.

Three similar electronic proof bills were passed this year in Idaho, Arizona and Louisiana. In Louisiana and Arizona, language in the bills addressed private information accessibility in the same way that AB 1708 does.

Louisiana’s law states that displaying a policy card on a mobile phone "shall not serve as consent for a law enforcement officer, or any other person, to access other contents of the mobile electronic device in any manner other than to verify the image."

And Arizona’s law similarly states that if a person offers a device to prove financial responsibility, "the person is not consenting to law enforcement to access other contents of the wireless communication device."

For more on this and related insurance issues, head to http://www.onlineautoinsurance.com/ for access to an easy-to-use quote-comparison generator and informative resource pages.

Charles Nguyen
Online Auto, LLC


OAI: Calif. Senate Forecasts Impact of Electronic Auto Insurance Proof on Privacy

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