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    No time to lose – sector-specific legislation urgently needed for connected vehicles

    10 January 2022

    Sector-specific legislation with consumer principles including freedom of choice, data protection and security, fair competition and innovation is urgently needed for connected vehicles. 91% of consumers believe they own their vehicle-generated data, but 85% affirm they have no control over it.

    The lack of clarity in consumers’ understanding over their vehicle’s data and its potential misuse poses a threat to cybersecurity and consumer protection principles mandated within the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). Legislation specific to the automotive industry is urgently needed as the number of connected vehicles are only projected to increase and the current GDPR is not holistic enough to cover all aspects within the automotive industry. The tightening of control over data flows by manufacturers, could cause independent service providers and consumers losses of 65 billion euros per year by 2030.

    The debate is at a crucial stage as the European Commission is scheduled to adopt a proposal of a “Data Act” to facilitate access to and use of data on 23 February 2022. A robust sector-specific legislation on access to in-vehicle data is essential to put the consumer in the driver’s seat of their vehicle’s dataflows, while guaranteeing market competition and innovation.

    Consumers need to be aware of what type of data their vehicles produce, for which purpose, and with whom their data is being shared. Car data can include operational data on speed, or location, maintenance data such as mileage due or oil levels, data on drivers’ behaviour such as speed patterns or distances travelled, and even users’ personal details such as name, contact and financial details shared with the vehicles’ operating system, and much more.

    “Our study once again confirms that Europeans are not sufficiently empowered when it comes to the data they generate while driving. A sound legal framework, allowing fair access based on consumers’ informed consent is urgently needed. We call on the Commission to complement horizontal legislation with the eagerly awaited sector specific legislation as soon as possible. Evidence is piling up that the proprietary models proposed by original equipment manufacturers (OEMS) will not deliver the innovations Europeans need to embrace connectivity,” says Laurianne Krid, Director General of FIA Region I.

    While the FIA European Bureau (FIA EB) recognizes the value of vehicle data in car maintenance, fuel efficiency, and even drivers’ safety, there is still a need for regulation reducing risks of data misuse. Consumers should be better informed of their privacy rights, especially regarding data processing, or even data resale for monetization in digital advertising. This can create serious repercussions for consumers’ private and professional lives without their knowledge due to the lack of clarity.

    A solution is already available through the Secure On-board Telematics Platform or S-OTP. It is a solution guaranteeing true consumer choice, effective competition, and free entrepreneurship in a secure and technology-neutral manner. The S-OTP concept is in line with the European institutions’ ambitious goals to foster innovation and legislate in a way that works for the modern economy. In addition, the S-OTP would ensure state-of-the-art cybersecurity and a fair allocation of liability.

    There is no time to lose. The FIA EB is calling on the European Commission to urgently propose sector-specific legislation and calls for the S-OTP solution to be mandated as the ideal platform to benefit consumers and society at large.

    Download our latest study on GDPR application in the context of car connectivity



    Diogo Pinto
    Policy Director