With very limited amounts of driving data we can enable very powerful and accurate inferences about the driver s identity, says Miro Enev, a former University of Washington researcher who worked on the study before taking a job as a machine-learning engineer at Belkin.
And the researchers argue that ability to pinpoint could have unexpected privacy implications: Everything from letting insurance companies punish drivers who loan their cars to their teenage kids, to confirming the identity of a driver who violated traffic laws or caused a collision.
In fact, drivers are increasingly sending that sensitive data to the cloud with gadgets like Hum, Vinli, Automatic and Zubee, designed to be plugged into their cars CAN networks via a port under the vehicle s dashboard.
Then the researchers tried using a machine learning algorithm to analyze each portion of those drivers routes for every driver.
But in their paper, the researchers propose other situations in which it might represent a privacy violation.
The driver detection research is only the latest study to point to the danger of internet-connected cars, and particularly internet-connected devices plugged into cars CAN networks.