In vehicle telematics

8 December 2023

Data is king.

Mobile phones, credit cards, and loyalty schemes all generate data about their owners and users. Where you live and travel, how much you spend and on what, and what you do and do not like – all of this is logged somewhere.

And don’t even get me started on Google and social media platforms.

More troubling is that all this data about you is owned and traded and sold. And you don’t have any say in it. You don’t even see it.

Vehicles are another rich source of data-mining. Where you travel and when, the speeds you drive, and who you talk to along the way. All of this is recorded in a new vehicle – anything under 10 years old.

Some of the data gathering is good. Information collected by manufacturers about engine temperatures, oil viscosity, and tyre pressures can lead to improved performance, safety, and reliability.

Data collected from drivers can also be shared with roads authorities to highlight problems or shortcomings in transport infrastructure, or can be used in ‘intelligent’ transport solutions – so you don’t have to wait at a red light on a deserted country road at 3am, for instance.

But there are privacy issues that need to be highlighted.

Drivers who generate data should own the data, or, at the very least, have access to it so they know what it’s ‘saying’ about them. After all, we have some element of control over all our other assets – and, for many of us, a vehicle is a significant investment.

The Federal Government should step up and create sound policy protecting motorists. Knowledge is power, and this data should not be left solely in the hands of manufacturers – who currently harvest and use it as they see fit. 

Words: VACC CEO Geoff Gwilym. As published in the Herald Sun 8 December, 2023. 

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