Connected Car Drivers Have Data Discomfort with Privacy Issues

Cassie, the consent and preference management platform serving Fortune 500 companies globally, unveiled a new research report breaking down how consumers feel about data privacy within connected cars. Cassie’s new Smart Cars, Smarter Consent Report, which surveyed more than 600 U.S. consumers, found consumers are concerned with automotive data privacy practices, particularly when it comes to the amount of data smart vehicles collect from users. Key findings from the report highlighted consumers’ priorities for anonymization and transparency for automotive data practices.

Vehicles are no longer just modes of transportation; they are also sophisticated data hubs on wheels. Notably, Cassie research revealed that 62% of drivers have a tech-enabled car, but trusting the tech can be a tricky road to navigate: over a third (36%) of connected car drivers reported concerns about the security risks associated with their tech features. Questions are starting to rise about what data smart cars actually collect, as well as what manufacturers do with it.

The report revealed what steps automotive makers need to take to maintain consumer loyalty and trust: 59% of respondents agreed they would switch manufacturers for more granular consent options.

Cassie’s Smart Cars, Smarter Consent Report also found:

  • 88% of drivers say the auto industry needs a substantial move towards greater transparency.
  • 85% want reassurance that their data is adequately anonymized.
  • 82% of connected car drivers don’t know how much data their vehicle collects.
  • 79% of connected car users are unaware of the full spectrum of collected, used, and shared data.

“Dozens of regulations for consumer protections have been enacted within the United States, yet cars are still behind the curve,” said Nicky Watson, co-founder and chief architect of Cassie. “Consumers should be aware of the amount of personal data carmakers are collecting through features like digitized consoles, GPS, smart speakers, cameras, and autonomous capabilities. And the possible repercussions it can have on other aspects of their lives.”

Additional key findings include:

Data discomfort

Connected smart cars, equipped with an array of sensors and communication systems, have the potential to revolutionize the driving experience.

  • 90% of consumers are reluctant to share driving data with manufacturers.
  • In fact, 60% are uncomfortable sharing in-car audio and voice data, which is significant since most connected cars feature hands-free voice activated options.

This integration raises new privacy concerns, including the potential for invasive advertising, data monetization, and the risk of data being used against individuals.

Gen Z privacy concerns 
Gen Z is the first generation to not know the world without the internet, and as such, is accustomed to using smart technology in most aspects of their daily lives. Yet, data privacy is still extremely important to them.

  • 37% of drivers say that they’re willing to pay more for data privacy features, with members of Gen Z 32% more likely than average to share this sentiment.
  • 68% of those who do not own a connected car are interested in purchasing one in the future, and members of Gen Z were 22% more likely than average to say this.

The full Cassie Smart Cars, Smarter Consent Report is available for download here.

This survey of 635 adults in the U.S. was conducted between October 27th, 2023 – October 31st, 2023. The survey was conducted at 95% confidence, +/- 4% margin of error.