At first glance, this looks like a simple question. We typically envision our data (pictures, financial information, personal information) as residing in our computer, tablet or phone. After all, if it is “my data”, where else could it be.
In reality, we all leave a much larger digital footprint. The obvious ones include social media, the various places that we have shopped online, anything that we have subscribed to and the ubiquitous Cloud. But what about our car? As automobile technology advances, the car is becoming another smart device. Whenever vehicle owners use their navigation system, make calls or search for a restaurant or therapist, their car is now capturing an increasingly high level of personal data. As systems continue to evolve, the car will morph into their own personal assistant.
This begs the question: how secure is their data and who has access to it?
The exact handling of Personally Identifiable Information (PII) and who is responsible for safeguarding it (dealers, manufacturers, or both) is not currently clearly defined in the automotive world. However, as this topic continues to gain visibility within the industry and with the public at large we are seeing signs that these issues are being addressed. As an example, The Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers (a trade association representing the auto industry) has developed Privacy Principles for its members and issued the following statement:
“Automakers believe that strong consumer data privacy protections are essential to maintaining the trust of our customers. Our Privacy Principles reflect a major step in protecting personal information collected in the vehicle.”
Although this statement does not address the auto dealers specifically, consumer data privacy in automotive should extend to dealer handling of data. Even if automakers are not directly responsible for their dealers’ data management practices, consumers will hold them accountable. This requires an increased level of cooperation and coordination between the various data systems employed by dealers and manufacturers.
Until recently, many forms of data transfer between systems involved insecure methods such as screen scraping (transferring data from legacy systems) and FTP. While some progress has been made, these 3rd party “hostile” integrations are still far too commonplace. Software now exists that eliminates the need for these types of practices and can provide a completely secure and standardized method of handling and transferring data, including PII.
Rather than hiring third-parties whose methods for dealer data acquisition are murky, automakers should focus on defining and publishing secure interfaces and deploying them through a well-controlled certification program. One solution has been developed by Motive Retail. Motive Integrator is a SaaS solution that works with any OEM/DSP combination of software and facilitates dealer integration with the tight, end-to-end security customers and regulatory agencies increasingly demand. OEM’s that are integrating dealer systems using Motive Integrator can be assured that their data is safe from unauthorized access because each published interface is managed through a secure testing and certification process.
Securing sensitive data and maintaining the trust of the consumer is everyone’s responsibility. New perspectives and new solutions are making that task easier for everyone in automotive, thus making the question, “Where Is My Data?”, a bit easier to answer.