Your connected car may be a hi-tech spying tool for insurers

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Connected cars being used for spying on drivers is a fear that is real and the latest data reveals that insurance companies are using these vehicles a

Connected cars being used for spying on drivers is a fear that is real and the latest data reveals that insurance companies are using these vehicles as monitoring tools simply testify that.

Concerns about data being stolen using connected cars have been making headlines at an increasing number keeping pace with the growing volume of connected vehicle fleets across the world. A New York Times study has further fuelled this fear by revealing that some drivers’ driving behaviours are being reported to the insurance companies by the connected technology of their vehicles, which is impacting the premiums these vehicle owners pay for insurance coverage.

The NYT report has specifically mentioned the name of a data broker called LexisNexis, which gathers and shares data related to driving behaviour with insurance companies. In a world, where modern cars are increasingly becoming connected, such a breach related to someone’s driving behaviour means his or her insurance premium is potentially vulnerable to being impacted.

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Most of the modern cars offer internet services that offer all sorts of popular features, from in-car apps to remote functions to even WiFi hotspots. While these connectivity features ensure the convenience of being connected, they are also a gold mine of driver data, not only for the car manufacturers but also for the insurance companies. The concept of ‘Pay as Drive’ is growing in the vehicle insurance sector and insurers can easily access these data to increase the premium for the vehicle owners.

The report has specifically mentioned that automakers such as General Motors share their consumers’ driving behaviour data with data collection companies like LexisNexis, which in turn sells that information to automobile insurance companies. The report further stated that in one instance, the rate of premium for a Chevrolet Bolt EV owner increased by 21 per cent owing to the person’s driving behaviour data leaked to the insurance company. While the automakers are collecting the data, they are not effectively letting the users about the tracking, which is directly a part of a privacy breach, while the other part is sharing that information with a third party.

The data privacy concerns with connected cars are similar to smartphones and other personal devices. People install various apps on their smartphones and devices without reading the terms and conditions that come in small print. The technical jargon too is another reason why users don’t pay much attention to these terms and conditions. However, with the rapidly increasing penetration of data connectivity in the automotive space, it is imperative that there is a robust policy for data privacy.

First Published Date: 17 Mar 2024, 10:30 AM IST

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