US regulators warn automakers against misuse of driver data access

US Regulators Warn Car Manufacturers Against Misusing Customer Data

Modern-day automobile onboard systems have considerably morphed cars into the equivalent of “smartphones on wheels.” As a result, privacy issues, which are rampant in the mobile device market, have gradually surfaced in the usage of vehicles. The US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) recently cautioned car manufacturers against inappropriate use of customer data.

Misuse of Customer Data by Car Manufacturers

This warning is in response to attempts made by car manufacturers to profit from data acquired from drivers, explains Ars Technica. Car manufacturers should only use customer data for purposes specified in the terms of the services they provide. American regulators believe that the quest for increased service monetization by investors should not lead car manufacturers to neglect the citizens’ rights to personal information protection.

The Need for Greater Information Security

Until now, car manufacturers have considered information security less important than traffic safety. However, vulnerabilities in the former can jeopardize the latter, as cybercriminals could potentially take control of crucial car systems. Manufacturers’ disregard for personal data usage rules often results in undisclosed provision of onboard system information to insurance companies. Consequently, drivers prone to aggressive driving incidents eventually face an increase in insurance rates without clear reasons. The FTC advises manufacturers against collecting owner information unless absolutely necessary, but it has yet to threaten punitive actions against the US car market participants.

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