Smart cars share re­veal­ing info about driv­ers

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - CANADA - THE CANA­DIAN PRESS

The fam­ily car is learn­ing more about who’s be­hind the wheel — ev­ery­thing from where a driver likes to shop to how hard they brake — as au­tomak­ers roll out new tech-savvy fea­tures.

With cars col­lect­ing and even shar­ing more per­sonal data, Canada’s pri­vacy watch­dog is qui­etly try­ing to en­sure man­u­fac­tur­ers, re­tail­ers and in­sur­ance com­pa­nies avoid bumps on the vir­tual high­way.

On-board nav­i­ga­tion sys­tems can tell where a ve­hi­cle is and where it has been. Elec­tronic com­po­nents stream data to com­put­ers that gauge driver be­hav­iour and the car’s road­wor­thi­ness. Ve­hi­cles rec­og­nize driv­ers and ad­just set­tings for them. In­fo­tain­ment sys­tems al­low voice and data com­mu­ni­ca­tions.

“With con­nec­tiv­ity, cars are be­com­ing highly ef­fi­cient data har­vest­ing ma­chines,’’ says a 2015 study by the Bri­tish Columbia Free­dom of In­for­ma­tion and Pri­vacy As­so­ci­a­tion.

Cus­tomer data gen­er­ated by the con­nected car is now seen as a ma­jor new source of rev­enue for mar­keters and ad­ver­tis­ers, the study found. Some in­sur­ance com­pa­nies are of­fer­ing cov­er­age that sets pre­mi­ums based on driv­ing pat­terns.

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