Survey: Most People Are Uncomfortable With Sharing Their Driving Data

Chris Teague
by Chris Teague

At this point, it’s no secret that connected cars collect an alarming amount of data on the people who own and drive them, but a recent survey found that almost nobody is happy about it. Insurance app company Jerry surveyed 1,300 drivers and found that 78 percent are either uncomfortable or extremely uncomfortable with their car’s maker collecting their data.

The vast majority – 96 percent – said that they should own and control the data their vehicle collect, but automakers have a different idea. That data, which can include location, driving habits, and other tidbits, can be used to sell subscriptions and tailor vehicle services to individual drivers. Studies have shown that automakers are “terrible at privacy and security,” however, and drivers are rightfully skeptical of how the information is being used.

General Motors got into trouble for working with a data broker to sell driver data to insurance companies, and most people are deeply uncomfortable with the idea that their data could be given to law enforcement without their consent or knowledge. Some even said they’d avoid taking sensitive trips in their vehicle if they felt that information could be sold and used.

Everything in our lives, from cell phones to connected refrigerators, collects data on us, so what’s the problem with giving up a little bit more? The number of ways automotive data could be used maliciously or to create corporate revenue streams is nearly endless, so this might be one area where it’s best to push back against data collection. That’s also before we get into data security and privacy issues, which automakers have shown are not their strong suits.

[Images: Tesla, General Motors, Mercedes-Benz]

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Chris Teague
Chris Teague

Chris grew up in, under, and around cars, but took the long way around to becoming an automotive writer. After a career in technology consulting and a trip through business school, Chris began writing about the automotive industry as a way to reconnect with his passion and get behind the wheel of a new car every week. He focuses on taking complex industry stories and making them digestible by any reader. Just don’t expect him to stay away from high-mileage Porsches.

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5 of 26 comments
  • THX1136 THX1136 on Jun 25, 2024

    Can't those who truly do not like this sort of surveillance take actions to limit or nearly stop all tracking? Asking for a friend.

    • See 1 previous
    • THX1136 THX1136 on Jun 25, 2024

      Straight-forward suggestion and I salute you for it!

  • Curt Curt on Jun 26, 2024

    Those of us with smartphones, and who doesn't have one these days, are giving up a veritable torrent of information to a huge number of data brokers, who sell and use that information in an incredible number of ways.

    That should be the issue, not the comparatively thin stream of data collected by our automobiles.

    But I guess when you're in automotive focused publication, you focus on what's in front of you.

    Not that I blindly want to share all of my automotive data with the world, there do need to be some constraints. I don't want the idea that my purchase or use of an automobile automatically opts me into sharing my data with whoever my service provider chooses to share it with.

    But the reality is we do that with our mobile phones and every app on it pretty much without a second thought.

    • Steve Biro Steve Biro on Jun 27, 2024

      I have location services turned off on all apps on my smartphone. One exception: I only use GPS occasionally and location services only works when that app is actively being used.

      I also have had Mazda turn off the TCU in the CX-5 that I just bought. And I use a VPN while on the web.

      It’s too late to stop all monitoring and it looks like our politicians aren’t going to step in on our behalf. But there are steps we can take to push back against, slow down and create huge gaps in the flow of our personal information.

  • Rover Sig Absolutely not. Ever.
  • EBFlex No. I buy as little Chinese products as possible.
  • John "...often in a state of complete disarray on the roads" What does that mean? Many examples in poor repair? Talk about awful writing.
  • Varezhka Saving sedans in US or globally? Right now around half of the global sedan sales is in China, just under a quarter in North America, and the remaining quarter distributed around the rest of the world. So for a sedan to stay around they must sell well in both China and North America (BMW, Mercedes, Toyota, Honda) or just extremely well in China (VW/Audi and Nissan). For everyone else, the writing is on the wall. There’s also a niche of subcompact sedans in SE Asia and India but I believe those are being replaced by SUVs too.
  • Kcflyer it's not a ford, it's not a mustang. just like the ford gt is not a ford but multimatic gt or mustang wouldn't roll off the tongue