on connected cars explored consumer rights, data privacy and federal and
state policies related to vehicle data
BETHESDA, Md. – April 9, 2019 – This year’s Washington Auto Show,
currently taking place at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in
Washington, D.C., features some of the latest technological innovations driving
the auto industry into new frontiers, including connected and autonomous
vehicles. But what many consumers don’t know about are the vast amounts of data
these vehicles collect—or with whom vehicle manufacturers share this data.
Car. Your Data. Your Choice., an education and advocacy
initiative created to engage car owners, policymakers and other stakeholders on
car data, brought together automotive, security and privacy experts,
policymakers and consumer advocates for an engaging discussion on, “How the
Connected Car Impacts Consumer Choice.” Each year, vehicles get “smarter” and
infused with telematic technologies that enable real-time, wireless
transmission of information related to driving behavior, vehicle health, GPS
location and maintenance and repair data. However, as this technology advances,
vehicle manufacturers are gaining exclusive access to, and control of, vehicle
data at the expense of consumers.
The discussion, hosted at the
Marriott Marquis in downtown Washington, D.C. during the policy and media days
of the Washington Auto Show, featured issue expert panelists Sally Greenberg,
executive director of the National Consumers League; Joseph (Joe) Jerome,
policy counsel for the Privacy & Data Project at the Center for Democracy &
Technology; and Greg Potter, chief technology officer at the Equipment and Tool
Jeff Plungis, lead automotive
investigative reporter at Consumer
Reports, guided the 60-minute conversation and insightful Q&A session
through a variety of topics related to vehicle data, including consumer rights,
data privacy and potential federal and state policy proposals.
“So much of the debate around
privacy right now is framed around the lens of Facebook and Google, and I
understand that, but cars are a real manifestation of how the privacy rubber
meets the road,” said Jerome.
Much of the dialogue focused on
what drivers know about vehicle data, what data vehicles collect and why
consumer access to and control of their vehicle data is vital.
“Yes, we should absolutely, as
consumers, have access to data we generate,” said Greenberg. “We should know if
it’s sold, shared, collected – consumers want to know that. Eighty-six percent
of consumers say they want control of their vehicle’s data. I am concerned that
we not leave this in the hands of automakers.”
The panel discussion also
provided an opportunity to premiere The Driver Bill
of Rights—a list of drivers’ inherent rights regarding the data
their vehicles collect, such as the right to transparency about the data; the
right to choose what data is collected; and the right to share repair and
“If you don’t have a meaningful
ability to say ‘no,’ then don’t attach the word consent to it as it’s not real
consent,” said Jerome. “As we’re seeing in the car space, people are concerned.
When people say ‘no’ they don’t have options other than ripping stuff from
As far as the path forward,
panelists discussed policy proposals at the federal and state level related to
consumer data privacy, and cited the recently passed California Consumer
Privacy Act and the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)
“Car companies have figured out
how to capture this data,” said Potter. “We have a lot of work ahead of us. We
are still climbing the hill, but it’s going to take some policy changes to push
To view a recording of the panel
discussion, visit https://yourcaryourdata.org/how-the-connected-car-impacts-consumer-choice/.
For more information on why vehicle
data access and choice for drivers is essential, visit https://yourcaryourdata.org/.