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The Connected Car: Who's in the Driver's Seat?

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BC Freedom of Information and Privacy Association



Project Leader(s)

Vincent Gogolek, Executive Director, BCFIPA

Pippa Lawson, Principle Researcher


The Connected Car: Who is in the Driver’s Seat? project looks at how vehicles have changed from simple means of transportation to computers on wheels able to navigate, diagnose vehicle health, monitor driver behavior, accommodate usage-based insurance programs and provide customized on-board infotainment services.

The same technologies that allow for safer, more convenient and more entertaining cars enable the collection and processing of enormous amounts of data. Much of this data is personal information, and some of it reveals intensely private details of a person’s life. Some data can be used to track and profile drivers for marketing and other purposes. The non-essential collection of data for data-mining and market research opens the door to a range of privacy risks that include security breaches, malicious access and state surveillance.

The Connected Car report finds that the usage-based insurance programs now offered in Ontario and Quebec generally comply with Canadian privacy law, but automakers providing connected car services are failing to meet their legal obligations. 

The report includes a number of recommendations, such as: establishing data protection regulations for the connected car industry, developing Canada-wide data protection standards for usage-based insurance, involving privacy experts in the design stage of intelligent transportation systems, and adopting “privacy by design” principles in the manufacturing of connected cars.

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OPC Funded Project

This project received funding support through the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada’s Contributions Program. The opinions expressed in the summary and report(s) are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada. Summaries have been provided by the project authors. Please note that the projects appear in their language of origin.

Contact Information

BC Freedom of Information and Privacy Association
#103- 1093 West Broadway
Vancouver, British Columbia
Canada V6H 1E2

Tel: (604)739-9788
Fax: (604)739-9148

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