Are connected cars a time bomb for used car sector?

  29 July 2018

Other than knowing where the on/off button is on my PC my IT skills are those of someone from the Stone Age so perhaps I am not the best person to comment but I have long been inherently distrustful of the way that today’s cars are becoming ever more interconnected.

At a time when GDPR seems like a big issue, a report from a self-described IT geek says there are valid concerns that sellers of used cars could potentially be causing themselves a headache if they do not make absolutely sure that the car has all the online access available to the previous owner switched off, disabled, call it what you will, before it changes hands.

The story stems from the buyer of a second hand Land Rover Discovery who found that the previous owner could still access a worrying amount of data and functionality on line. Data such as tracking journeys, functionality such as calling an emergency service.

I say these are valid concerns but I also say that they are so far largely unaddressed concerns too.

It’s naive to think this is something that will not come back to bite the car trade. Look at the recent scandal surrounding Cambridge Analytica. 50 million Facebook profiles were `harvested’ for political means and the scandal concerned the unauthorised access and distribution of what was assumed to be private data.

For motor retailers the question must be this. When there is a public exposure on this, that someone else can track your journeys, – surely only a matter of time – who carries the can? Is it the manufacturer who built the car and its tech systems or the dealer who sold it?

From the report I read, the manufacturer, JLR, seemed quite adamant that it is the seller, not the maker, who has the duty of care to their customer.

It’s early days in this matter but one the trade needs to be at the very least aware of and perhaps asking questions now while there is still time.

GDPR? This has the potential to make that look like a vicarage tea party.

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