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AAA Unveils The Consumer Rights for Car Data

Calls For Transparency, Security, and Choice

William Maley
by William Maley
January 27, 2014

Consider this: about one in five new cars sold this year in the U.S. will feature some sort of telematics system that collects and transmits information to improve safety and convenience for drivers. Sounds great, right? Well there are concerns about that data and what is happening with it.

A recent report published by the Government Accountability Office looked at ten navigation and telematics service providers and their privacy practices. The report showed that nearly all collect and share with third parties drivers' location data to provide data such as traffic. However, the report also found that four companies stored data and didn't provide an option for the driver to delete the data. Even more worrying is the fact that two companies admitted that they shared data with public agencies for study and one said they share data with marketers.

Because of this report and the expansion of telematics systems into automobiles, AAA announced this month a consumer rights for car data to help foster accountability on the part of companies and government agencies in protecting driver's data. There are three points to AAA's consumer rights:

  • : Consumers have a right to clearly understand what information is being collected from their vehicle and how it is being used. Businesses and the government should be transparent about the collection and use of vehicle data.
  • Consumers have a right to decide with whom to share their data and for what purpose. This includes ongoing monitoring of vehicle systems, repair and any data of the vehicle owner’s choice. Customers should not be forced to relinquish control as a condition of purchasing or leasing a vehicle or of receiving a connected-vehicle service.
  • Consumers have a right to expect that connected-vehicle manufacturers and service providers will use reasonable measures to protect vehicle data systems and services against unauthorized access and misuse.

“New car technologies are changing the way we drive by making the experience both easier and safer than ever before. Within a decade the majority of cars on the road will be able to identify problems before breakdowns occur, reduce crashes and help drivers save time and money,” said Bob Darbelnet, President and CEO of AAA.

“Many connected car features are made possible through the collection of large amounts of potentially sensitive data from drivers," Darbelnet continued. "Companies collecting, using and sharing data from cars should do everything possible to protect consumer rights as they offer these exciting technologies.”


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