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Access to data and your car

Motoring clubs bid to protect drivers’ privacy and control of car telematics data

Motoring organisations across Europe, including the AA, are campaigning to prevent real-time electronic data from car on-board systems being abused and any benefits being monopolised and controlled by a small number of businesses.

The modern car is increasingly able to transmit data about its whereabouts, condition, activities and use. This should be of huge benefit to car owners, particularly with emergencies and vehicle technical and operational data.

However, there is huge concern among European motoring organisations that the firms who manufacture and supply the equipment will try to control the data and its use, putting their interests ahead of consumers.


Free choice to drivers
“We must make sure that the consumer, who is the one paying for the technology, is also the one in charge of the data that is shared. This starts with informed consent from the user. When we advocate for open platforms, we mean standardised, secure platforms where a variety of businesses can develop services for the consumer. This will ensure a fair and open aftermarket for vehicle data. Most importantly, it will offer free choice to drivers.”

FIA campaign video


Guiding principles

The campaign is characterised by three guiding consumer principles:

  • Consumer control and protection of data: Legislation should ensure informed consent on access to a car’s data. This means that consumers need to be fully informed about what data is being transmitted and for what purpose. Drivers should retain ownership of the data their car produces and control over how it is used for as long as they own the vehicle.
  • Free choice: Drivers should have the right to choose their preferred service provider and match the right products and level of service to their needs. The right to choose from a variety of safe product functionalities needs to be guaranteed. The service providers must also be changeable throughout the lifetime of the vehicle, without any additional administrative burden.
  • Fair competition: A variety of service providers should have the right to develop products and functionalities for car data, ensuring fair competition in an open market place. This enables the driver’s preferred service provider to access vehicle data and offer associated functionalities via an open, secure telematics platform.


The debate surrounding access to data and connected cars coincides with the vote scheduled on 'eCall' on 23 January 2014. In addition to its dramatic potential to increase road safety – an eCall equipped car will call the emergency services automatically in the event of a crash – eCall is paving the way for vehicle connectivity to become a standard technology, bringing telematics into all vehicles.

With an increase in the speed and penetration of telematics platforms, consumer protection concerns become relevant. Although the connected car can assist the driver and make travel safer, more comfortable and more efficient, it must ensure informed consent on data sharing and a fully functioning aftermarket, for the benefit of motorists.

(22 January 2014)