NEW YORK — Under the attention-grabbing headline, "Your car knows when you gain weight," Auto Care Association (ACA) President and CEO Bill Hanvey wrote an op-ed in The New York Times today that discusses the privacy issues surrounding vehicle data collection.
For its part, the ACA has been pursuing efforts to ensure vehicle owners' rights to access their car data and to choose their auto repair facilities.
Mr. Hanvey, in the piece, notes that cars are "essentially smartphones with wheels.
"For drivers," he wrote, "this has meant many new features: automatic braking, turn-by-turn directions, infotainment. But for all the things we're getting out of our connected vehicles, car makers are getting much, much more: They're constantly collecting data from our vehicles."
Key points of Mr. Hanvey's argument include:
- "Cars … know how fast we drive, where we live, how many children we have — even financial information. Connect a phone to a car, and it knows who we call and who we text. But who owns and, ultimately, controls that data? And what are car makers doing with it?"
- "For almost a century, car and truck owners have been able to take their vehicles to whichever shop they choose and trust for maintenance and repair. That may be changing."
- "The solution is simple. The only person who should control car data is the car owner (or lessee). He or she should be aware of the data the car transmits, have control over it and determine who can see it."
- "[C]ar makers have no incentive to release control of the data collected from our vehicles. Policymakers, however, have the opportunity to give drivers control — not just so that they can keep their data private but also so that they can share it with the people they want to see it. This will let car owners maintain what they've had for a century: the right to decide who fixes their car."
Because of the increasing complexity of cars and the Internet of Things, Mr. Hanvey wrote, data are critical to repair and service.
"When car makers control the data, they can choose which service centers receive our information. They're more likely to share our data exclusively with their branded dealerships than with independent repair shops, which could have the edge in price and convenience."
However, he stresssed, independent repair shops make up 70 percent of outside warranty repairs throughout the country.
Mr. Hanvey also pointed out that the value of data — estimated to be worht as much as $750 billion by 2030 — means car makers have no incentive to release control of the data collected from our vehicles.