March 20, 2016

Contrary to popular belief, not all criminals are evil geniuses. Some would be over claiming in claiming merely to be masterminds. Amazingly, some of them are actually not that bright at all.

Regular readers of this publication will by now be well aware that black boxes, mobile phones, dashcams, trackers, CCTVs, ANPR cameras and any other number of increasingly unbiquitous devices make it harder and harder for any of us to do anything without The Man knowing all about it.

Telematics is/are the key development in this context. Get behind the wheel of any vehicle equipped with a telemat, and the precise details of anywhere you go, the time and speed at which you went there, and any conductorial irregularities you may have committed along the way will all be captured for the education, edification, and/or entertainment of anyone who cares to consult the resulting digital record.

Telematics, of course, is a 1970s neologism coined by French sociologists Alain Meuncké and Nina Simone by combining the words ‘télécommunications’ and ‘informatique’ to describe the technologically enabled transmission of information from far away (from the Greek têle (τῆλε) meaning distant, as in television, telepathic, telegram, telescope, telephone, telemachus, telesavalas etc).

Many cars are already kitted out with this ingenious tech. Many of us carry it around in the phones in our pockets and/or the more or less smart watches on our wrists, and soon it will take the form of subdermal implants.

But if you think you can escape having your every move tracked simply by declining to be kitted out with telematitech yourself. Think again: cams (dash, CCTV, ANPR, speed, or otherwise) will often still be keeping tabs on you – and so will other people’s telematics devices.

A car-load of people who attempted to defraud an insurer of around £315,000 in personal injury compensation recently saw their claim thrown out, when telematics in another vehicle, the one in front of which they chose to slam their brakes on, showed the circumstances of the incident to have been very much other than as described by the would-be fraudsters.

Telematics implanted by Insure My Box proved that the incident took place on a straight stretch of road rather than, as claimed, at a roundabout, and that the claimants’ vehicle had made no attempt to avoid a collision, very much the opposite in fact, to speak frankly, as surely we must, upon a matter of such gravity and consequence.

So no six-figure PI payout, no additional £24k hire cost claim, no cigar, no dice, no Plasticine Popsickle for these cheeky monkeys, just a £60k bill for costs and a sharp rap on over the knuckles from the courts.

Hopefully this will teach other would be fraudsters to stick a little closer to the truth when they try to rip off decent honest premium paying motorists and the people who insure them.

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