BMW Warns About Potential Misuse of On-Board Car Data by Advertisers

bmw connecteddrive suite 1 photo
Photo: bmw
The amount of sensors that go into a modern car these days is simply staggering. You car basically knows even if there’s a child inside the cabin just by using a weight sensor inside the seat. That’s the sort of info that could come in handy to some companies, looking for a quick buck.
In a recent interview, BMW’s Sales and Marketing Director, Ian Robertson said that various technology companies and advertisers are looking to gain access to the vast amount of info the car gathers, so that they can gain profit easier.

“There’s plenty of people out there saying: ‘give us all the data you’ve got and we can tell you what we can do with it’,” he told the Financial Times on the sidelines of the Detroit motor show.

Fortunately, he claims that the company is denying such offers but how much could we count on their honesty? And how long will it last until we get to see the first ads on our iDrive screens?

At the moment, BMW claims that there’s a firewall in place that protects the essential data for the car from prying eyes. Things like working parameters for various parts are kept secret right now while the rest of the info that makes it into the ConnectedDrive service is virtually unprotected.

“Several companies have said: ‘We’d like to know that data because then we will know whether it’s an adult or a child sitting in the car’,” Mr. Robertson was also quoted as saying.

Thanks to the info they gather, they could tell whether you’ve been on a long ride with a child or not and when you’re passing a fast-food restaurant, for example, that being the perfect moment to advertise. It’s a dangerous situation and if car makers aren’t careful, it could degenerate pretty quickly.
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