Mobile Security

Balancing Data Collection and Privacy in Connected Cars

In a Deloitte survey on connected cars and consumer privacy needs, respondents say they want more transparency on what happens to their data and more protection.

Balancing data protection requirements and the collection of our private data by tech and other companies is one of the great debates of our time. With various issues surrounding data protection far from settled, it seems clear that the subject will be hotly debated for the foreseeable future. Deloitte recently carried out a study on the subject, entitled ‘Automotive Data Treasure: Vehicle digitalization and the question of data treasures’. Based on a survey of 1,000 consumers in Germany, Great Britain, France, Spain and Italy, it asked Research Now to discover “attitudes and perspectives regarding data protection, as well as their current or potential use of Connected Car Services” (CCS). CCS are enabled by integrated car or paired connectivity (e.g. with via Bluetooth to a smartphone).


of respondents already use CCS or want to use it in their next vehicle

Rapid EU sales

With the global market for Connected Car Services (CCS) expected to hit around EUR 322 million in 2017, and European sales around EUR 62 million for 2016, this is a lucrative business, including for tech companies and OEMs. More so when one considers that by 2021, Europe will be the world’s leading market for CSS, with a rise up to around EUR 715 million in sales. This is reflected in the fact that in the Deloitte/Research Now survey, 53% of respondents already use CCS or want to use it in their next vehicle, with only around 11% saying they had no interest in it. Clearly, the consumer potential is significant. The benefits for consumers, as perceived by the respondents, threw up few surprises, with 55% saying safety capabilities (such as congestions assistance and collision protection) presented by CCS was “very important”.

45% of respondents said it was ‘very important’ that they had control over personal data transmission

Paying for CCS A total of 27% of respondents said they would rather have a CCS but pay nothing, though 48% said they would pay between EUR1 and EUR49.

Do you know what’s happening to your data?

The report notes that ‘if future CCS services are to meet the need for personal control, devices and applications must be more transparent’. And why? Because 45% of respondents said it was “very important” that they had control over personal data transmission, with a further 35% saying it was “important”. Indeed, 64% said they were only “sometimes”, “only rarely” or unaware which of their “data are already being recorded and stored, and how long third parties have access to them”. Respondents, therefore, place great responsibility on relevant authorities and policy makers to ensure their data is used more carefully. More than half of respondents said company/car manufacturers or IT providers had responsibility for data security, with 31% saying it was the responsibility of governments. Concerns about the safety of “personal data are that it is saved, transmitted or sold to third parties” (63%), their car might be “hijacked” (56%) or that they “receive unwanted advertising” (36%).

Buying a car with CCS 64% of contemporary consumers say that data security is either “always” or “most of the time” a future criterion for a car purchase.

Transparency and protection

As a result, respondents want to be assured that their personal data would not be passed on (63%), want transparent communication regarding what the data is used for (48%) and a commitment from car manufacturers regarding anonymous data evaluation (34%). Clearly, connected car services offer an array of hugely attractive features that will continue to enhance our car driving experience. Nevertheless, if there is to be a rapid expansion of CCS, consumers need to be listened to. Consumers demand protection and well-thought-out regulation, and they want the relevant authorities (whether government or manufacturers and suppliers) to be transparent, open and be committed to protecting them.

Download Deloitte survey