Is car data personal data?

The study examined how existing and upcoming EU legislation on data protection and liability could apply to vehicle data.
It dismisses attempts by vehicle manufacturers to categorise data according to its technical or non-technical nature, and says that data does not automatically lose relevance in terms of privacy because of its technical nature.

For instance it points out that technical information regarding a low oil gauge of a specific vehicle is linked directly to an identifiable customer.
The study also discusses the upcoming EU General Data Protection Regulation which introduces the concept of data portability, intended to allow users to transfer their personal data to a third party upon request. This provision was drafted to ensure competition.

However, data protection legislation alone may not be sufficient to ensure competition as there remain concerns over the latency and quality of the data to be provided, the study says.
FIA Region I director general Laurianne Krid commented: “This study shows, without ambiguity, that most of the data generated by car users should be treated as personal data. It dismisses claims that exclusive access could be granted to vehicle manufacturers based on the nature of the data or liability obligations.
“While data protection legislation will provide some rights to users, it cannot replace sound technical and competition legislation to guarantee free choice and innovation,” he added.

The full study will be published in the coming weeks.


“The TIMON project has received funding from the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under Grant Agreement No. 636220”

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