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Tom Wilson

'Spy car' worries raised by new Allstate patent

'Spy car' worries raised by new Allstate patent

If, while driving, you were also chowing down food, yakking on your phone or getting distracted by Bella the Labrador retriever, would your insurance company know?

A patent issued earlier this month to Allstate mentions using sensors and cameras to record "potential sources of driver distraction within the vehicle (e.g. pets, phone usage, unsecured objects in vehicle)." It also mentions gathering information on the number and types of passengers — whether adults, children or teenagers.

And the Northbrook-based insurer isn't just interested in the motoring habits of its own policyholders.

Underscoring companies' interest in collecting and analyzing...