The professional riders' union (Cyclistes Professionels Associés, CPA) is calling on the UCI to protect sensitive rider data in the new cycling eSports discipline ahead of the newly launched esports World Championships in 2020.
Applications such as Zwift, which will host next year's world championship event, collect data on riders such as height, weight, heart rate, and watts per kilogram in order to measure performances on virtual courses, but the CPA president Gianni Bugno warns that this information cannot be shared without riders' permission.
"We believe protecting the riders' freedom of choice concerning the sharing of their sensitive data is a matter of paramount importance," Bugno said in a CPA press release. "Riders must be free to decide individually whether to let the teams release their data – and if so, at what cost – or to use their data personally for promotional reasons, or even to keep them entirely private."
The CPA aims to push regulations to ensure rider privacy with the UCI's working group on esports.
"It is a good thing that the e-sport companies are starting crucial projects for this new discipline, involving pro road racing riders who bring kudos and value to the sport. However, because this is an entirely new discipline, it will need ad-hoc regulations," Bugno said.
"Sensitive data is the individual rider's exclusive property and cannot be shared without their permission. The use of riders' data in the esports context has broad legal and commercial implications that must be dealt with by the governing body of cycling, alongside all stakeholders, as soon as possible."
All European Union citizens are covered by the EU's General Data Protection Regulation for personal data transfer in and outside the EU.
The CPA wants professional riders to be able to seize the new opportunities provided by esports "transparently, lucratively and in full confidence that their rights are protected".
The CPA is due to renew its Joint Agreement with the teams association (AIGCP) and intends to include the discussion of esports data protection.
"We appreciate that the UCI will soon create the working group that the CPA will be part of to discuss this urgent matter and we hope that the sport groups will be open to acknowledging these fundamental rights of the riders in the Joint Agreement," Bugno said.
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