Data storage fears

  05 November 2012

You wouldn’t sell your old mobile phone without first wiping its memory. However, used cars are now increasingly entering the remarketing channels loaded with phone numbers, addresses and other personal information, because owners don’t ‘reset’ their cars before moving on.

Mid-week, I was listening to a Vehicle Remarketing Association seminar about the amount of data held on cars and was surprised at how big an issue this could be, and already is.

With cars ‘sucking’ personal information from a mobile phone into their memory, it falls to the remarketing network – be that dealer, lease company or auction house – to make sure this data isn’t passed on to the next buyer. This is covered by the Data Protection Act and can is enforced by the Information Commissioner.

One retailer delegate to the VRA event said he was getting two to three enquiries a week about what happens to the information on cars that are traded in.He went on to give an example of taking a customer for a test drive in a Range Rover when the potential buyer used the car’s memory to call the previous owner and ask about the car.

As the speaker David Tomes, pointed out, if you’re taking in used cars you should have a procedure in place to make sure that this has happened and has been signed off by the keeper.

One thing that wasn’t touched on when discussing the data held on cars, and that was copyright. Not only do cars now store phone numbers, but also music. And given the music industry’s propensity to go after those copying and reselling music this may be something to watch out for as well.



Tristan Young


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