A newly-formed alliance of fleet associations, telematics providers, and the nation's largest rental car provider have asked the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) for a public hearing to help clarify who will control access to vehicle data.
The Global Alliance for Vehicle Data Access (GAVDA), which was formed in the nation's capital today, also includes consumer advocates, insurance companies, and independent vehicle repair facilities. The group's members include Enterprise Holdings, Geotab, the NAFA Fleet Management Association, the American Automotive Leasing Association (AALA), and the American Car Rental Association (ACRA).
"The issue of vehicle data control — and the potential monetization of vehicle data, including personally identifiable data — is a controversial and growing consumer protection and competition policy topic," said Greg Scott, the alliance's executive director and ACRA's lobbyist. "The creation of GAVDA to protect the data control and access rights of vehicle owners — and the third parties that receive the permission of vehicle owners to access vehicle data — through legislation and regulation around the world is an inevitable outgrowth of this nascent policy debate."
The alliance filed comments with the FTC last week advocating "open, secure, real-time, and full access to vehicle data by vehicle owners," Scott said.
Vehicle manufacturers have begun taking steps to control and monetize data from their vehicles, in part, to deal with potential cybersecurity threats from hackers. In May 2017, the BMW Group formed BMW CarData, a server-based platform that cuts off third-party access to a vehicle's on-board diagnostics port.
In June, Ford formed Ford Commercial Services, a mobility business unit that will serve vehicle data verified by Ford engineers from an open-platform cloud server. The unit has agreements with telematics providers Geotab, Spireon, and Verizon Connect.
Federal law remains murky about who controls vehicle data. In January 2014, automakers agreed to allow independent repair shops access to diagnostic data after several states, including Massachusetts, passed "right to repair" laws. In 2015, Congress decided that data from vehicle event data recorders is owned and controlled by the owner of the vehicle.
Telematics providers hope to retain access to a vehicle's data so they can provide commercial and rental fleets more detailed data about a vehicle's operation and its driver's behavior as part of a fleet manager's safety strategy and policies for reducing risk.
"We believe the customer controls access to the data," said Colin Sutherland, Geotab's executive vice president of sales and marketing, interview with Automotive Fleet in July.