Who owns the data?

Sept. 15, 2016
The industry is fighting to establish the vehicle owner as the proprietor of a vehicle’s data. That’s why it’s important to educate the consumer on what that means.

While telematics continues to be a prominent topic in the aftermarket industry (see my April 2015 Editor’s Note, “The ongoing telematics discussion” for more), it’s been pushed more by key aftermarket industry groups that OEs play nice by allowing access to the information gathered from the ever-increasing data collected on vehicles.

Until now.

In a push to become more visible and a priority to consumers, the automotive aftermarket, led by the Auto Care Association, has long held that the owner of the vehicle owns the vehicle’s data. Now, there is a focus to get the vehicle owner more involved.

When a consumer purchases a vehicle, they’re likely unaware of all of the data being emitted from that vehicle at any given time. Once the consumer is privy to this information, they’re under the impression that the data their vehicle transmits belongs to the purchaser (e.g. the vehicle owner). But that’s not the case presently. For vehicles with Internet connection capabilities (e.g. that handy touchscreen dashboard interface), all of this data is being transmitted and collected by the auto manufacturer — everything from vehicle performance to driver behavior.

In a world with cloud computing, smart phones and the continuing evolution of all things digital, both the amount of data collected and the concerns for how this information will be used continues to grow.

There’s good reason to educate consumers about this data and to get involved in the discussion over who owns and has access to this data, especially when it comes to aftermarket repair shops. Consumers dictate when and where their vehicle is serviced.

“Vehicle owners own the data being generated by their vehicles and they should be able to use that data to direct the service of their vehicles to the location of their choice,” say officials with the Telematics Task Force (www.aftermarkettaskforce.org).

“If alerts to vehicle owners and the supporting technical information necessary to repair the vehicle are available to both franchised dealers and independent vehicle service providers, the vehicle owner gains value in their ownership experience.”

The question now is, how can the industry—and, aftermarket shops specifically —push consumers to act?

About the Author

Erica Schueller | Editorial Director | Commercial Vehicle Group

Erica Schueller is the Editorial Director of the Endeavor Commercial Vehicle Group. The commercial vehicle group includes the following brands: American Trucker, Bulk Transporter, Fleet Maintenance, FleetOwner, Refrigerated Transporter, and Trailer/Body Builders brands.

An award-winning journalist, Schueller has reported and written about the vehicle maintenance and repair industry her entire career. She has received accolades for her reporting and editing in the commercial and automotive vehicle fields by the Truck Writers of North America (TWNA), the International Automotive Media Competition (IAMC), the Folio: Eddie & Ozzie Awards and the American Society of Business Publication Editors (ASBPE) Azbee Awards.

Schueller has received recognition among her publishing industry peers as a recipient of the 2014 Folio Top Women in Media Rising Stars award, acknowledging her accomplishments of digital content management and assistance with improving the print and digital products in the Vehicle Repair Group. She was also named one Women in Trucking’s 2018 Top Women in Transportation to Watch.

She is an active member of a number of industry groups, including the American Trucking Associations' (ATA) Technology & Maintenance Council (TMC),  the Auto Care Association's Young Auto Care Networking Group, GenNext, and Women in Trucking.

In December 2018, Schueller graduated at the top of her class from the Waukesha County Technical College's 10-week professional truck driving program, earning her Class A commercial driver's license (CDL).  

She has worked in the vehicle repair and maintenance industry since 2008.

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