The IT Law Wiki


Future of Privacy Forum, The Connected Car and Privacy: Navigating New Data Issues (Nov. 13, 2014) (full-text).


This publication seeks to provide an overview of the various technologies currently available in cars and identifies the types of data collected and the purposes for which it is collected. While connectivity is the buzzword of the day, many of the recent privacy-related headlines about in-car technologies are, in fact, about data collection that is not novel. On-board diagnostic data have been generated by cars for decades, and recording accident-related information on Event Data Records (EDRs) has been going on for years.

Yet connectivity does promise new types of in-car data collection. New sensors and technologies do increase the ability of vehicles to harness location information and in the future, will allow vehicles to collect more information about the car's immediate surroundings and its driver's behavior. Today, connected cars frequently provide consumers with more opportunities to take advantage of location-based services in their cars and real-time traffic-based navigation. Similarly, onboard sensors can already be used by vehicles to detect lane markings and immediate obstacles.

In the future, in-car technologies will increasingly gather information about driver behavior or their biometric data. For example, vehicles will be able to quickly identify their drivers, changing car settings to accommodate the driving profile of a teenage or elderly driver. Sensors in the steering wheel or driver's seat will monitor stress-levels and health conditions. Much of this information is used to drive vehicle safety improvements. Attention assist features evaluates a driver's steering corrections along with other factors like crosswinds or road surface quality to predict driver fatigue. As they are developed, vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-infrastructure communications will also augment these features and will depend on responsible privacy standards.