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PC highlights need for Australians to control vehicle data

3.11.2016

The Australian Automobile Association (AAA) welcomed the Productivity Commission’s Draft Report Data Availability and Use and its recommendation that consumers be given the right to control who can access information gathered about them, including that gathered and transmitted to manufacturers by ‘connected’ cars.

On Monday this week the AAA launched the My Car My Data campaign and website to inform Australians of the emergence of ‘connected’ cars. Connected cars can gather and transmit to the carmaker, real time information about cars and their occupants. This can include where the car has been, how fast it travels, and in some cases, personal information from mobile phones.

The AAA wants Australians to understand that they probably do not own the data their car gathers about them, and that this can have implications for their privacy and the affordability of motoring.

AAA Chief Executive Michael Bradley said: “The experience in Europe has been that drivers of connected cars have only been able to share vehicle data with the car maker.  Many industry observers believe if this situation is replicated in Australia, car owners may have little choice but to take their car to a branded repairer, rather than an independent repairer of their choice.

“The AAA believes consumers not only deserve the right to privacy but also to decide who will service their vehicle. This means Australian motorists must be able to share their vehicle information with the repairer of their choice, rather than a repairer chosen by the car maker. As the Productivity Commission points out, this is an integral part of facilitating competition in markets and reducing barriers to market entry.

“As with many aspects of modern life, car technology is evolving far faster than our laws. The AAA welcomes the Productivity Commission’s draft recommendations and, given the lack of clarity around who owns the information produced by connected cars, we urge Australia’s politicians to consider them carefully.”

Prior to establishing the My Car My Data website, the AAA invited 24 vehicle manufacturers that sell vehicles in Australia to make their data management policies publicly available on the site. To date eight of the 24 have responded.

The AAA hopes that over time, more vehicle manufacturers will make their policies available via the My Car My Data website.

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