A little more than a week after the “Your Car. Your Data. Your Choice.” campaign petition for repair data access hit 10,000 signatures in Canada, it bounded past the 20,000 mark. A few days later, It has now passed 23,000.
The initiative, launched in Canada by the Automotive Industries Association of Canada in November 2020, building on a U.S. initiative, seeks to raise awareness among consumers and lawmakers about the threat that control over vehicle data places on consumer choice.
“Your Car. Your Data. Your Choice.” was started in the U.S. as an Auto Care Association and Automotive Aftermarket Suppliers Association (AASA) education program designed to raise awareness among consumers about the implications of control over the massive amounts of data collected by their vehicle. It also provides for feedback through a petition to help press lawmakers to ensure that consumers have control over this data.
In recent research by the AIA, Canadian consumers show that they are as comfortable sharing their vehicle data with the local independent service business as they are with the vehicle manufacturer, but are far less certain about who owns the data, with only about a third correctly responding that the automaker controls the vehicle data.
There is near absolute certainty, however, about who Canadians feel should have control: the car owner.
“The problem that we’re facing today,” AIA president J.F. Champagne, said at the time of the launch, “is that if we do allow car companies to create a data monopoly, it could limit the consumer choice of where and how your car is serviced.”
While vehicles today do collect what anyone might consider vast amounts of data, the coming years of the connected car and telematics systems are crucial, as the technology will allow for communicating in real time, an exponential growth in the data collected and a potential rise in the importance of control over that data.
“By 2022, we believe that between 70% to 95% of new cars sold in Canada will be equipped with wireless technology with telematic systems. It will collect and report an extensive amount of information to the car makers. So, what does that mean for consumers? What does that mean for the industry? Obviously, [the fact of] automakers controlling this vast amount of information generated by the connected car is a big concern, because ultimately it is going to reduce the capacity of consumers to choose where and how they get their car serviced, and with that will come great inconvenience and lack of control, and obviously increased costs.”
The initiative comes on the heels of an announcement by Navdeep Bains, minister of innovation, science and industry, introducing the proposed Digital Charter Implementation Act 2020, which modernizes the framework for the protection of personal information in the private sector.
This legislation takes a number of important steps to ensure that Canadians will be protected by a modern and responsive law and that innovative businesses will benefit from clear rules even as technology continues to evolve, including increasing control and transparency when Canadians’ personal information is handled by companies; and giving Canadians the freedom to move their information from one organization to another in a secure manner.
“So, what a great time to be again engaging with the federal government to tell them that we want privacy reform in Canada. Yes, we want Canadians to be in control of their data, but this is not just about social media. It’s also about the very car that they drive, that is increasingly connected, and generating a large amount of information that is currently controlled and owned by the car makers.”
The announcement comes as the aftermarket in the U.S. celebrates a significant win with more than 70% of Massachusetts voting in favour of a resolution to give them control over their data, and the right to choose who repairs their vehicles as a result.
Champagne says that initiatives like “Your Car. Your Data. Your Choice.” help on this front, especially in the face of significant campaigns opposing the ballot initiative.
“The campaigns sort of took a bit of a backseat as they were really focusing specifically on speaking to the people of Massachusetts, but there’s no question that the groundwork done by Auto Care and AASA and the campaign was a great contributor to that success in Massachusetts.”
Educational materials hosted on the AIA Canada campaign website will help to raise awareness among industry and consumers about control of, and access to, vehicle data. The campaign will also encourage industry and consumers to take action by signing a petition that asks the government of Canada to give consumers control of their vehicle data.
For more information on the Your Car. Your Data. Your Choice. campaign, visit yourcaryourdata.org.
To get involved in Canada, visit www.vehicledataaccess.aiacanada.com.