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RAC allays drivers' fears on connected car data

According to the FIA, a survey of drivers from 12 European countries found that 90% say that vehicle data belongs to the owner or driver of the vehicle. Drivers were most concerned about the disclosure of private information (88%), commercial use of personal data (86%), vehicle hacking and vehicle tracking. 95% of people surveyed believed that there was a need for specific legislation to protect their rights to their vehicle and driver data.

In response, FIA Region I, a consumer body representing 111 Motoring and Touring Clubs whose office is based in Brussels, has launched its My Car My Data campaign (www.mycarmydata.eu), to raise public awareness on vehicle data and to call for privacy legislation and a fair after-market for connected vehicle services.

Thierry Willemarck, FIA Region I president, said: “There is a clear disconnect in what is being tracked and what citizens are willing to accept when it comes to car data. Not only strong data protection, but informed consent and free choice of service providers need to be addressed. Connected cars are already on the market, tracking and able to communicate private information about consumers. Now is the time for policymakers to take a strong stand and defend consumers.”

MEP Evelyne Gebhardt added: “Consumers have a right to know what data they are sharing when they drive their car. Currently, only vehicle manufacturers have access to this data. Europeans deserve to control their data and to which service provider they choose to share it with. They also must have the possibility to shut off communication.”

Commenting on the campaign, RAC spokesman Simon Williams said: “The connected technology that is already being fitted to cars offers motorists huge benefits in terms of road safety in the long term by providing assistance in the event of an accident; identifying vehicle faults to prevent breakdowns before they happen; and in the future enabling elderly and disabled people, who currently cannot drive, to use a car.

“While supporting the FIA’s campaign to ensure data is treated properly, we believe the understandable nervousness associated with this new technology will diminish as motorists become familiar with the benefits that the use of this data offers. Ultimately, this is very similar to the data being shared via a mobile phone which, of course, almost everyone carries.

“Most people now accept CCTV use in public places and are happy to share their location with apps on their phones; this is simply a new application of the same technology.” 

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Natalie Middleton

Natalie has worked as a fleet journalist for 16 years, previously as assistant editor on the former Company Car magazine before joining Fleet World in 2006. Prior to this, she worked on a range of B2B titles, including Insurance Age and Insurance Day. As Business Editor, Natalie ensures the group websites and newsletters are updated with the latest news.