EU weighs rules on driver data, pitting insurers against car giants

LONDON (REUTERS) – The European Union has launched a public consultation on possible rules to ensure fair access to driver data, pitting the powerful insurance and auto industries against each other in a battle to monetize information digital.

The bloc’s executive European Commission said in a call for evidence on Thursday March 31 that more than 85% of new cars in 2018 were wirelessly connected, with more than 470 million connected vehicles expected to be on the roads in Europe, the United States -United. and China by 2025.

The EU has already proposed a data law, but it may not be detailed enough for the processing of automotive data, and an additional measure could standardize data sets and ensure fair access and competition, said said the EU executive.

Industry body Insurance Europe said such a measure would be the first of its kind.

Automakers have long kept their role as ‘gatekeepers’ in accessing data from cars, such as the speed at which they are traveling, with an increasing amount of information now being received via wireless transmission.

Insurers and auto repair shops have lobbied the EU to allow drivers, not automakers, to decide who can directly access their vehicle data.

If car manufacturers control the data, they can also control which insurer or other service provider covers the vehicle.

Putting the driver in charge would mean all industries are on an equal competitive footing, Insurance Europe said.

“It is necessary to regulate this, because you cannot leave this in the hands of car manufacturers,” said Mr Nicolas Jeanmart, head of personal and damage insurance at Insurance Europe.

“It should be up to each driver what they want to do with their data, and whether they want to share it with an external provider like an insurer.” There are around 250 million cars on EU roads.

Insurers already provide services to drivers via apps in countries like Britain and Italy, but the supply is spotty. It would be easier and cheaper to offer them directly based on car data, Insurance Europe said.

ACEA, the European body for car manufacturers, said the European car industry was committed to providing access to data generated by vehicles, but uncontrolled access posed a threat to cybersecurity, the protection of data and privacy.

“That is why any EU legislative framework should ensure the safety of vehicles and their occupants,” ACEA said, adding that it must also ensure that the automotive sector can remain competitive.

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