"Informing You Without Watching you."  @digitalprivacy, Wed 07/27:
Who Is Collecting Data from Your Car? – The Markup

A firehose of sensitive data from your vehicle is flowing to a group of companies you’ve probably never heard of By Jon Keegan and Alfred Ng

Today’s cars are akin to smartphones, with apps connected to the internet that collect huge amounts of data, some of which is highly personal. But the products they create and services they provide illustrate how the industry works and the breadth of its reach. Vehicle data hubs ingest vehicle and movement data from multiple sources: from car manufacturers, other connected vehicle data providers, directly from vehicles using aftermarket hardware such as “onboard diagnostics” (OBD) dongles, or from smartphone apps. The data is then consolidated and normalized in one place for analysis and insights. The companies normalize the data and offer it to customers in the form of a dashboard or insights derived from analysis or other data products. Their business proposition is collect all this data, create massive databases, try to standardize this data as much as possible and then literally sell it. When used to produce insights, the data is usually aggregated. They create “usage-based insurance” (UBI) products priced on driver data. *One of Arity’s mobile app sources is family safety app Life360. We analyze anonymous and aggregated data and create products out of it, then distribute those products to customers. A closer look at Otonomo and Wejo illustrates the huge amount of data under their control and the potential value of the information. In its Q1 2022 financial results, Otonomo said it has contracts with 23 OEMs, and in April it acquired The Floow, a “connected insurance technology” provider. Wejo says it has partnerships with 24 OEMs and fleet providers and reported revenue of $568,000 with a loss of $40 million in Q1 2022. ↩︎ link Privacy Challenges

Many of these companies stress the steps they take to protect driver privacy. These protections generally come in two forms: anonymizing or aggregating driver data and clear consent controls. ↩︎ link Anonymization and Aggregation

Otonomo is one example of the dozens of companies that market their attempts at keeping information anonymous. Otonomo also argued that tracking people and vehicles were not the same thing. Report Deeply and Fix Things Because it turns out moving fast and breaking things broke some super important things. Give Now

Otonomo did not respond to The Markup’s requests for comment, but in a response to Motherboard’s coverage of individual vehicle data in its free samples, Otonomo spokesperson Jodi Joseph Asiag said, “Privacy is at the core of our platform, technology and vision.” Regarding assurances of anonymized location data, Cyphers noted, “It is not possible to minimize individualized location data traces whenever you have several different data points about a person’s location or a vehicle’s location over time. ↩︎ link Consent Control

One area where the car-as-smartphone metaphor breaks down is users’ ability to grant or revoke permissions for apps to access personal data. Comparing the privacy control panels found on smartphones to the typical car, “[t]hat stuff does not exist,” said Privacy4Cars’s Amico. Users must consent to a number of different terms of service, either on the OEM’s smartphone app or on the car dashboard. ↩︎ link Privacy as a Feature

Apple has embraced strengthened privacy controls on the iPhone as a marketing tool.

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