US: technology in vehicles endangers privacy image

According to auto industry and law experts, car privacy is an unregulated domain, and every time a driver gets in his car and drives away, the infotainment, navigation and under-the hood systems gather lots of driving data.

That would mean a driver is recorded if he aggressively pushes the accelerator or brake pedal, whether speed limits were obeyed, where he went, or what route he took. The myriad of technology systems in a new car is the source of gathering data, while ownership of data collected by them is regulated by few laws.

As it was revealed by a recent Government Accountability Office investigation, one thing is certain, automakers and parts makers collect and most of all, share the data. Worse, according to the terms of use many customers need to agree to use voice-activated and navigation systems, the right to share the information is guaranteed.

“The automotive industry needs to think hard about the type of information they want to collect and who they want to pass it on to,” said Thilo Koslowski, a vice president at technology research firm Gartner Inc. “Anything that focuses more on the driver than the vehicle, that’s where consumers won’t find a whole lot of value.”

The issue doesn’t seem to be resolved any time soon as well, as few laws restrict acces to such data and when they do, most of them regulate the “black boxes” – the recorders of event data – which just like in commercial aviation, save key information in moments leading to an accident for example.