Is Your New Car Collecting Data About Your Driving Habits?

About 1 in 5 new cars collect and transmit data about engine performance, safe or unsafe driving maneuvers, cellphone or entertainment system usage and your location.  The data collected is transmitted to manufacturers and dealers, who can then use the information to steer drivers to franchise repair dealers. They can also share this information with third parties of their choosing. Did you give the automaker consent to collect all of this data from you? Check the fine print in your lease or sales agreements. It’s most likely buried within all that legal jargon.

While there are benefits to consumers for collecting information about engine performance, there are also huge benefits to the insurance companies.  Where you talking on your cellphone at the time of the accident?  Where you speeding?  Your new car knows the answers to these questions.

By 2025, every passenger auto is expected to be in constant contact with the Internet, and even with nearby cars.  “Our cars are quickly becoming mobile computers,” said Sen. Bill Monning (D-Carmel).  Sen. Monning believes that while this technology does have important benefits, it’s imperative that basic safeguards are in place to ensure consumers get to decide who has, and who does not have, access to the data being transmitted from their cars.

A bill being carried by state Sen. Monning, SB 994, was attacked by major auto manufacturers even before it was introduced at a media event.

“Our cars are quickly becoming mobile computers, and while this technology provides several important benefits to consumers, it is imperative that there are basic safeguards in place to ensure consumers can decide who has access to their data,” said Monning. “The modern connected car can greatly improve safety, enhance convenience and lower costs, but it can also tell automakers other personal information that consumers should have more control over. SB 994 will provide car owners disclosure, access, and choice when it comes to their car’s information.”

Just how connected to the auto manufacturer and dealers do you want to be? It’s your car, and your data. You should be the one who gets to decide the Who, What, When, Where and Why of who gets access to that data.