Shared car data is ultimately personal information about drivers. Nikki, an Esurance interviewee who recently purchased two new cars for her family, questioned whether her data could be sold to third-parties. Likewise, Kevin, who was trading in his 2003 model for a connected car, worried about his privacy being infringed upon: "If the data for the safety features can be accessed, who's to say they aren't accessing anything I connect to Bluetooth?" And Kristen, who was buying a new car, wondered if data about hard braking and speed could affect her insurance premium.
In an attempt to address these concerns, lawmakers are looking at ways to give consumers more control of their data. The EU's General Data Protection Regulation act, which goes into effect March 2018, may be one model to follow. The key here is consumer choice — that drivers know and approve of who gets their data.
For example, if you're a good driver, you may want your insurer to know that. "At the moment, all my insurer knows about me is my age and that I haven't had any accidents," says Channon, an insurance law expert. "It doesn't know that I drive the speed limit, but it could. There are benefits to be had by sharing data."
Right now, the effect of sharing your data with your insurance company is a potentially lower premium. But it's important to be informed about what you're sharing, says tech expert Scott.
"I don't think the general public realizes exactly how much data is already being collected," he says, citing data related to geo-tagging, geo-fencing, car speed, car maintenance, and driving behavior.
Currently, there's nothing to stop your carmaker from selling that data to the highest bidder.
Hacking is another worry. While most experts agree that the likelihood is very low, it's still a possibility. Fortunately, data security is a field that's growing exponentially along with connected cars. Each time a data breach occurs, engineers take those lessons and apply them to the next innovation. This ultimately leads to stronger, safer cars.