Connectivity Challenge With Consumer ‘No’ to Trackers

Consumers remain opposed to in-vehicle tracking devices posing serious challenges to carmakers’ plans for connected services.

A survey of UK motorists found 70% of respondents didn’t want ‘Big Brother’ style technology installed in their new cars. While the poll, conducted by vehicle retail giant Motorpoint, featured less than 200 responses, it does back up concerns raised in an article by The Sun newspaper highlighting tracking devices installed into leased Mercedes-Benz cars with many users complaining knowledge of the devices had been buried in agreements’ small print.

The latest online survey found the majority of respondents were against the introduction of so-called ‘black boxes’ into new cars. While it is true that all new vehicles for the European Union market must now be fitted with first responder alert eCall devices, consumers remain unhappy at non emergency tracking.

Consumer data privacy concerns have been further heightened in the wake of EU proposals that could see all new cars built from 2022 fitted with location-tracking devices that would monitor a driver’s speed, driving behavior as well as use of vehicle safety features. Drivers would not be able to switch off these devices and the data collected could potentially be shared across countries.

Mark Carpenter, CEO of Motorpoint, said: “It’s quite clear from our survey that drivers as a whole are against the introduction of ‘Big Brother’ style technology in their cars. While the technology does bring with it the ability to learn from our driving habits, there are serious implications in the way personal data is collected which need addressing before such tracking devices become commonplace on British roads.”

— Paul Myles is a seasoned automotive journalist based in London. Follow him on Twitter @Paulmyles_


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