Modern cars are not merely means of transport, but increasingly data producers and data carriers. Even before the engine starts to buzz, the manufacturers already receive a multitude of data from countless sensors installed by them in the vehicle, all of which are generated by the car drivers. The car’s data architecture remains at the manufacturers’ discretion, which means that thanks to the exclusive technical control of the data they come de facto into their possession, and they are therefore being able to determine about the collection, storage, processing, use and transfer of the vehicle data. This often happens without the own intervention or even knowledge of the consumers, who usually do not even have access to their own data – despite car ownership. The establishment and expansion of the automotive aftermarket and services sector are also subject to the manufacturers’ conditions that regulate within the realm of their own brand the access and delivery channels, above all prioritising their own product optimisation based on the data available to them.
The present treatment of vehicle data in favour of the car manufacturers inevitably harms consumer welfare. This imbalance needs to be redressed, namely by setting appropriate uniform rules for handling vehicle data.
Since its inception in 2008 the not-for profit consumer association European Automobile Clubs asbl (EAC), currently comprising six member clubs from Austria, Germany, Slovakia as well as Bosnia and Herzegovina, is fully dedicated to the concerns of the car drivers in Europe. At the heart of its policy work is the bundled interest of now above 3 million drivers according to the motto: Making them experience Europe across borders in a simple and safe manner.
The principle consequently applying to EAC as concerns all issues related to data in connected cars is:
The driver is the measure of all vehicle data.
Signaling the urgent need for action concerning the handling of vehicle data, EAC appeals to the European policy makers in charge of the transport sector advocating for its four key demands for the benefit and protection of car drivers in Europe.
Read the full position paper here.