With the slurry of recent consumer outcries at how the US government, tech giants, and others are misusing data collected from users, new guidelines agreed upon by the world’s top automakers as to how their vehicles can and cannot use customer data ought to be a comfort.
Just today, General Motors agreed to a set of industry-wide, self-imposed guidelines regarding data usage, along with automakers BMW, Chrysler, Ford, Honda, Hyundai-Kia, Mercedes-Benz, Nissan, Toyota and Volkswagen. As Automotive News reports, the set of data-use principles was drafted by two Washington, D.C. trade groups: the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, and the Association of Global Automakers.
The guidelines require all of the agreeing automakers to obtain permission from customers for certain types of data usage by 2017, with an extra “grace year” if additional engineering is required to meet this demand. For instance, the principles cover biometric data describing the driver, geolocation data, and data regarding driving behavior. Vehicles cannot use the above information for marketing purposes unless granted consumer permission, and cannot report any of the data to insurance carriers.
Meanwhile, the automaker can provide customer data to the government, but only if compelled to do so by a warrant or court order. Furthermore, the automakers can continue to use anonymized customer data internally, say to research how the vehicles are used, locate a stolen or crashed vehicle, etc.
It’s an important development for consumers, as it minimizes customer mistrust moving forward with more complex data-driven hardware. And that trust, in-turn, might just prove advantageous for automakers, as well.