New privacy principles fail to give consumers control of vehicle data

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The Auto Care Association says vehicle manufacturers’ new privacy principles do not provide consumers with adequate control of their car’s data, a failure that will likely prevent independent service providers from accessing the diagnostic data of their customers’ vehicles.

On Nov. 12, the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers and the Association of Global Automakers released “Consumer Privacy Protection Principles,” which are intended to provide car owners with a set of principles regarding the sharing of the personal information available over vehicle telematics systems.

The Auto Care Association says it applauds the car companies for taking this initiative to inform consumers of the sizable amount of personal information that is being transmitted to manufacturers from their customers’ vehicles. However, the association believes that the manufacturers are still failing to provide car owners any choices regarding the information that is available from their vehicle.

Currently, car owners are at the mercy of the vehicle manufacturers as to where information on their vehicle is sent, according to the Auto Care Association. This includes vehicle diagnostic, mileage and geolocation information. All of this information is sent directly to the manufacturer, and they decide with which third parties to share that information. 

In many cases, car owners have established trusted long-term relationships with repair shops and other vehicle service entities to which they would prefer their diagnostic and other personal data be sent, in order to ensure more convenient and efficient service for their vehicle. The Auto Care Association says that since these third parties often compete with the franchised dealer, it is unlikely that the data produced by a car owner’s vehicle will be made available by a manufacturer to an independent service entity. 

The Auto Care Association strongly urges the vehicle manufacturers to build into their vehicles a secure gateway which will allow motorists to have information that is transmitted by their vehicle and sent to the third party of their choice, not the car companies’ choice. Such action will permit car owners to have full control of the information available from their embedded vehicle telematics systems. 

For more information, call 301-654-6664.

The Auto Care Association is a Bethesda, Md.-based association whose more than 2,000 member companies represent approximately 150,000 independent businesses that manufacture, distribute and sell motor vehicle parts, accessories, tools, equipment, materials, supplies and perform vehicle service and repair. For details, visit

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