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Privacy preferences in automotive data collection

Dowthwaite, A., Cook, D., & Cox, A. L. (2024). Privacy preferences in automotive data collection. Transportation Research Interdisciplinary Perspectives24, 101022.

In this paper we delve into the privacy concerns associated with data collected by connected cars and how this impacts drivers. The research focuses on exploring the privacy preferences of drivers using a Human-Data Interaction (HDI) framework through interviews with 15 drivers, highlighting key aspects such as:

  1. Understanding and Control Over Data (Legibility and Agency): Many drivers lack clear understanding and control over the data collected by their cars. This includes confusion about what data is collected, how it is used, and how drivers can manage it.
  2. Privacy Preferences Based on Perceived Benefits or Threats: Drivers’ willingness to share data is influenced by the perceived benefits versus potential privacy risks. For instance, drivers might consent to data sharing if it enhances vehicle safety or functionality, but they are wary of potential misuse that could impact their privacy.
  3. Recommendations for Car Manufacturers: We suggest that car manufacturers should provide clearer information about data collection practices and allow drivers more control over their data. This includes making the data collection processes more transparent and giving drivers the ability to set preferences based on specific conditions.
  4. Implications for Consent Procedures: We also point out the need for improving consent procedures in vehicles to ensure that drivers are adequately informed and can make knowledgeable decisions about their data.
  5. Enhancing Driver Experience and Trust: By improving communication and control mechanisms regarding data, manufacturers can enhance user trust and satisfaction, making the technological advancements in connected cars more acceptable to drivers.

Overall, the paper calls for a more driver-centered approach in the design and implementation of data collection systems in connected cars, emphasizing the importance of privacy and control to foster trust and acceptance among users.