VRA issues four-point guide to address personal data fears
The technological evolution of satellite navigation, phone kits and entertainment systems means everyday more personal driver information is stored on the car’s hard drives, from their entire phone book to personal addresses.
Ultimately it is the driver’s responsibility to erase this data from their car before it goes back to the rental company, leasing company or franchised dealer, but that doesn’t always happen.
To protect members from passing on a driver’s personal data when they sell a car, the VRA is recommending a series of measures to adopt to help avoid possible consequences of passing on a driver’s personal details and the risk of contravening the Data Protection Act.
1.Ensure that wording is included in customer contracts and master hire agreements informing their customer’s drivers of their obligations
2. Signed confirmation must be received by the vehicle owner as part of the vehicle dehire process that all data has been removed from the vehicle
3.Action Delete All or Factory Reset, or similar functionality as part of their remarketing process before a car is sold
4.Encourage individual companies to conduct a Privacy Impact Assessment
'We have yet to see major instances of any personal data being misused if it is inadvertently left on a car’s sat nav or in-car system, but this won’t be the case forever. We have, for example, seen an instance where a car buyer traced the previous company car driver to his home address to ask more details about the used car he had just purchased at auction,' said John Davies, the VRA’s chairman.
'But if a driver’s phone has personal details of, for example, a politician or public figure and the sat nav includes details of how to find where they live, this could be a real security concern,' he added.
On discussion with members early in 2012 some companies had already adopted their own policies and others had talked to customers about the issue, but the VRA guide will help all members to consider the issues and decide what steps are appropriate for them to take.