Privacy4Cars, a data privacy-tech company that focuses on protecting personal data left on vehicles, launched a new tool May 2, called Vehicle Privacy Report, that widens access to the security information of most vehicles on the road.
Vehicle owners and users can quickly see key privacy facts about a vehicle, including personal information (PI) the manufacturer collects, shares, and sells the information to by entering a vehicle’s VIN number at vehicleprivacyreport.com.
Contents of Vehicle Privacy Report
The report portal offers two main components:
- A vehicle’s privacy label that offers 10 standard clickable icons that describe how vehicle data is sold, shared, collected, and possibly left behind by vehicle manufacturers;
- A vehicle’s history of actions that businesses involved in the buying and selling of vehicles have taken to protect the personal data of owners.
A vehicle owner or buyer can see exactly when and where a dealership or company transacting the vehicle deleted persona data to protect previous owners and users, said Andrea Amico, the founder and CEO of Privacy4Cars, in an interview with Automotive Fleet and Vehicle Remarketing.
The service is free to consumers. Business-to-business (B2B) users such as fleet operations, rental card companies, consignors, auctions, and auto dealers will pay a licensing fee to apply the Vehicle Privacy Report to their internal processes, Amico said.
Data security information has become a critical function of vehicles as they are built with more onboard digital and interactive technologies that collect or track the personal data of drivers and passengers who connect and sync their smartphones and electronic devices in the vehicle. They also often enter personal information into the OEM-provided equipment, such as home addresses in GPS navigation.
“It is important to put the information out there and start the journey for consumers and companies to offer a higher level of transparency in transactions, and before many transactions happen,” Amico said. “A buyer should know what [data terms and practices] they are buying, and a seller should know what they are selling.”
Increasing Awareness About Vehicle Data Security
While the reporting tool does not cover all 273 million vehicles in circulation in the U.S., it comes close to 100%, Amico said. Privacy4Cars plans to release versions of the reporting tool in Canada, Europe, and other regions, which all have different data agreements and disclosures. “There’s a lot of localization of content that needs to be done,” Amico said.
Privacy4Cars beta tested the Vehicle Privacy Report tool with select fleet operations and banking institutions.
The Vehicle Privacy Report tool evolved after Privacy4Cars sent consumers to “mystery shop” at over 150 dealerships between 2020-2023. The research found that less than 5% of salespeople correctly communicated that cars collect personal information and that manufacturers have the rights to share and sell it. No dealership was able to explain the data differences between two different vehicles mystery shoppers were test driving.
Finding and accessing the full scope of data security information can take consumers, owners, renters and passengers hours of research and reading through complex legal documents, rendering most unable to fully understand a vehicle’s data privacy picture before purchasing.
“If you are financing a vehicle, it’s not just a piece of metal as an asset, but one that comes with a data agreement,” Amico said. “We believe we will see auto finance companies, insurance companies and dealerships use it. It’s a trust-building content service they can put in front of their customers while making their disclosures.”
Originally posted on Automotive Fleet