- Helping you drive happy

Allstate patents data-collecting system; drivers be warned

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Allstate has recently been granted patents for new technologies to collect even more information about drivers,Business Insider reports.

In fact, using sensors in the steering wheel and/or brake pedal, as well as cameras mounted inside the car, the insurance company would be able to evaluate drivers' physiological data including heart rate, blood pressure, and electrocardiogram signals every two seconds.

With sensors becoming more and more affordable these days, many companies such as auto insurers are attempting to collect additional data for risk assessment purposes. While Allstate has yet to develop the aforementioned technologies, the fact that it was granted patents shows how serious it is about monitoring insured car owners.

This obviously and legitimately raises a number of issues pertaining to individual freedom and privacy. The Big Brother-type systems we're talking about here go way beyond the mild devices auto insurers offer to monitor one's driving habits and potentially reduce their insurance premiums.

According to those patents, future applications could include integrating cameras with sensors to analyze vehicle speed and other factors to monitor the distance between the vehicle and roadway lane divider lines; collecting the position and movement of a vehicle; and evaluating "time of day violation" (because nighttime driving is more dangerous than driving during the day).

This could even have impacts beyond your car insurance, mind you. As Allstate writes, "A pattern of aggressive driving may be correlated to 'risk taking' in other life or employment environments, including but not limited to spending and debt repayment."

 Will auto insurers share your data with other companies such as banks? Now that's starting to become a bit scary...