FOT-Net Data Webinar: “Legal and ethical issues”, 26 November 2014

The objective of this webinar was to transfer knowledge about the FESTA methodology for designing and conducting Field Operational Tests, with a specific focus on legal and ethical issues which may be involved in an FOT. The FESTA handbook, illustrated by the FESTA “V”[1], establishes the process to guarantee the best quality possible during each step. The handbook went through a series of thorough revisions; the most recent one, revision 5, also includes NDS, cooperative systems etc. The FESTA handbook can be downloaded from:

Helena Gellerman at SAFER presented the legal and ethical part of the FESTA “V”. Helena’s talk mainly covered the following aspects, namely participant recruitment, participant agreement, data protection and data ownership, system safety, approval for on-road use, insurance / responsibilities, video data collection in restricted areas, and ethical approval. Helena emphasized that the participants are the core of FOT/NDS and advised that their data and privacy must be treated with great respect.

Helena discussed European directives and regulations regarding these issues and informed that the interpretation of these may vary from country to country, and hence an FOT project should always check the national legislation and involve legal expertise at the level of every Member State, based on predefined data logging facilities and specific systems/applications.

To recruit right participants, Helena advised that insurance coverage for the whole fleet would be needed. If a participant uses his/her own vehicle or fleet, their insurance coverage would also need to be checked. Helena explained that this checking would be even more important for cross-border travels.

Helena addressed that participant agreement is legally a signed contract between the participant and handling organization, and should include information regarding topics like obligations, liabilities, insurance issues, logging of personal data, the scope of processing over the lifetime of the data, if a participant commits a traffic offence, responsibility for minor damages to the vehicle and payment of any insurance excess. It may also ask the participant if their data could be re-used and shared after the project. Helena explained that there are different national requirements for an ethical approval in Europe and that the process can be time-consuming and needs to be included in the project plan.

Helena explained that special care should be given to if video data collection is taking place in restricted areas, in which it is illegal or prohibited to video externally, e.g. border crossing, military locations, private premises, e.g. goods delivery.

Helena covered the topic of data protection and data ownership. She informed that, as an example, transfer of data across Europe is ok but transfer to countries outside Europe need a special participant consent. Helena then explained how special care must be taken to the personal integrity in situations such as vehicle internal video/audio recordings and cameras towards vehicle surroundings. The data protection requirements on storage and handling of video and GPS are high as the data can reveal identity. This especially applies to video shown outside the secure storage environment, where the data should be anonymized.

Helena presented a list of data protection measures, including that appropriate education on personal integrity issues should be given to persons handling and analyzing the data, data infrastructure should be protected from intrusion, personal IDs should be sufficiently encrypted and kept separate from the main database and data should be encrypted before transferred.

The webinar was concluded by questions:

  1. Does the handbook provide dos and donts or best practices for system safety (from Haibo Chen)? Helena explained that there was not so much of this in the FESTA handbook. This could be addressed when we update the methodology at the end of this project.

Haibo Chen thanked Helena for this webinar and the participants for their attendance.

Haibo informed that there would be a project workshop on data re-use to be held in Barcelona, 16-17 December 2014, and encouraged people to attend.



Webinar presenations:

Download the introduction from Haibo Chen

Download the presentation Helena Gellerman


To view the webinar recording: