Drivers used to have to just worry about losing their car to thieves. Now they need to worry about losing the data from their cars to marketers, the government or others.
To deal with these privacy issues, roadside-service giant AAA has drafted a bill of rights, of sorts, and is urging those companies to adopt it.
AAA’s threefold Consumer Rights for Car Data calls for transparency, choice and security. It says car owners should have a right to:
• Clearly understand what information is being collected from their vehicle, and how it is being used.
• Decide with whom to share their data and for what purpose. This includes ongoing monitoring systems, repair and any data of the vehicle owner’s choice.
• Not to be forced to relinquish control of data as a condition of purchasing or leasing a vehicle or of receiving a connected-vehicle service.
• Expect that connected-vehicle manufacturers and service providers will use reasonable measures to protect vehicle data systems and services against unauthorized access and misuse.
Congress ordered an audit last year of the privacy practices of 10 navigation and telematics service providers. The audit found that of those providers, which included domestic and foreign automakers as well as navigation-system manufacturers, all or nearly all collect and share with third parties drivers’ location data in order to provide services like turn-by-turn directions and real-time traffic alerts.
Four providers also stored that information without offering the option for deletion. Two shared data with public agencies for study. One acknowledged sharing data with marketers.
About 20% of new cars sold this year will collect and transmit data outside the vehicle to improve safety and convenience for drivers, according to AAA. Within a decade, the majority of cars on the road will be connected in some way.
“Many connected car features are made possible through the collection of large amounts of potentially sensitive data from drivers,” said AAA CEO Bob Darbelnet in a statement. “Companies collecting, using and sharing data from cars should do everything possible to protect consumer rights as they offer these exciting technologies.”