As we barrel towards a world where our cars can drive themselves and may be speaking to other cars on the road (or to the internet at large), our vehicles are getting a more complete and intimate view into our personal lives than ever before.
The way we use our vehicles can expose massive amounts of information about our lives: where we travel, who we travel to see, where we work, where we eat, our financial history, how long we spend at work, how long we spend with friends, where we vote, whether we attended a political event... the list goes on.
What’s more, our vehicles are becoming just as adept as our smartphones at siphoning up data about our lives and, as with our smartphones, we are rarely aware that this data is being collected at all. As with any of the other myriad privacy policies we agree to every day, the contracts controlling how this data is treated by automakers are written in hard-to-understand legal terms and are rarely, if ever, actually read by us (the consumers of those products and services).
Data is the oil of the 21st century… and automakers are very, very familiar with the value of oil. We’re already seeing companies promising to analyze and resell automotive data to help automakers commercialize it. There needs to be protections in place to ensure that we aren’t unknowingly granting access to our intimate, private lives simply by getting in our car to go to work. We believe car owners should own the data that is being generated/collected by our vehicles and should have a say in how our data is used and shared.