2018 has been quite a year for data and privacy news. From high-profile security breaches to the now infamous Facebook and Cambridge Analytica scandal, global consumers have become inundated – and rightfully concerned – around the issue of data protection. To add to the barrage of recent news, earlier this month the European Union enacted sweeping regulatory oversight through its General Data Regulation Protection (GDPR) legislation, which brings with it significant impact for both businesses and consumers.
I’m sure, like me, consumers around the world are getting multiple privacy terms and agreement updates almost daily from every online website or app we’ve ever used. It’s become quite clear that businesses and governing bodies alike are scrambling to navigate the data protection realities of this new, complex world – and Otonomo is no different. While we’ve loved telling our story in places like the Today Show and the Washington Post, we’ve been questioned regularly about how we’re tackling data security and privacy, and have been asked frequently about what our customers, partners and ultimately drivers need to feel comfortable with our platform. We’ve been the good guy quoted in stories titled “Big Brother on Wheels,” which we know internally couldn’t be further from the truth. But can we really blame consumers for being skeptical with all that’s happening?
We realized we had to take action to get ahead of the issue – something had to be done. So rather than make assumptions or compile third-party research on the subject, we decided we owed it to ourselves to gain insights that truly reflect the views, concerns and aspirations of drivers today. And while we know that data protection is a top focus of our company’s service offering, it was important for us to address the elephant in the room directly to better understand what’s driving consumer sentiment, and what that means for our business.
That’s why today we are announcing the results of a new consumer study fielded by Edison Research that focuses on gleaning insights around data protection and privacy concerns from 1,070 American drivers who own a connected car or plan to buy one in the next month. What we found was both intriguing and surprising. Even in the wake of recent controversies involving corporate use of Americans’ personal data without their consent, our survey found that these drivers are nonetheless willing to share their personal data for a safer and improved driving experience. Some highlights from our study include:
- As many as 94% expressed interest in apps and services. Approximately 80% of those who expressed interested in a number of potential new services (including real-time alerts of dangerous driving conditions, early detection of maintenance and repairs, and even faster response times from emergency responders in the event of an accident) stated a willingness to share personal automotive data in order to gain access to these capabilities.
- Transparency and trust are critical now to consumer confidence, with 64% stating they want to be told exactly what data is being collected, how it is being used, and by whom.
- Confidence in automakers as trusted stewards of data was high, with 71% of new car buyers and 77% of connected car owners stating they were confident or somewhat confident that car manufacturers would properly secure their data.
Data like this proves that Otonomo is on the right track with providing the peace of mind needed to succeed in this climate. Recently, we announced The Consent Management Hub, the first centralized platform for automotive OEMs and third-party service providers to easily integrate and enhance connected car data privacy. The offering will provide drivers, just like the ones surveyed here, with granular control of application permissions to limit how their data is shared, as well as visibility into how their data is being used.
We see the Consent Management Hub having a direct positive impact to address many insights discovered from this survey. While we know there’s still a lot of uncertainty today around data protection, we’re excited for the opportunities ahead for our company. By continuing to understand driver sentiment, we will be well-positioned to deliver products and services that not only make stakeholders feel comfortable, but that make them feel more empowered.
For more information about the survey and our findings, please check out our press release.