How Privacy Concerns Hinder Growth Of Autonomous Vehicles, IoT

About 76 percent people are feel "stressed or vulnerable" about sharing their location data, says Dr. Peter Kürpick, Chief Platform Officer at HERE Technologies.

There’s long been a disconnect between the appreciation of the “open” web — with its practically limitless ability to share and access all kinds of information –and the fear that the trade off involves surrendering vast swaths of personal details.

When it comes to mobile services that rely directly on location data, such as on-demand food delivery and ride-hailing apps, map searches, social media sharing, and the use of Connected Intelligence/Internet of Things-powered concepts like self-driving cars and chatbots, the disconnect is particularly fraught, a study from mapping and navigation platform HERE finds.

And as HERE continues to pursue the position of being the foundation of carmakers’ autonomous vehicle projects, the company sees privacy fears as a significant hurdle.

“While the lack of trust is problematic today, we believe that there could be greater challenges down the road if privacy practices continue to be dominated by a click-to-consent approach,” says Dr. Peter Kürpick, Chief Platform Officer at HERE Technologies.

“Autonomous transportation and other new services will require increasingly time-sensitive and machine-to-machine communications, and for people to enjoy uninterrupted access to these kinds of services, a new approach to privacy is needed,” Kürpick adds.

In a survey of 8,000 people across eight countries (Australia, Brazil, France, Germany, Japan, the Netherlands, the UK, and the U.S.), HERE found that two-in-five people discovered they share location data with more apps than they thought, while only one-in-five feel they have full control over their location data.

A Clear Value Exchange + Transparency

Despite the high percentage of consumers who express fear about location data and their personal information, most consumers surveyed would consider using an Artificial Intelligence bot to manage their data privacy in future.

It all goes to the idea of transparency in terms of letting consumers know exactly what information is being accessed and for how long. Secondly, if there’s a good, necessary reason for accessing it — such as getting from one place to another or ordering an item quickly — the barrier to connecting with consumers’ location information falls.

Specifically, the study showed how increased transparency and control over how location data is collected and used could increase consumer trust and make them more willing to share.

Around 70 percent said they would grant access to a data collector if they knew why their location data was needed, what it was used for, and that it was protected, stored safely or systematically deleted. A similar number said they would also allow access if they could more easily change their settings, withdraw access and delete their history.

Accordingly, most people would be open to using new technologies to help people manage their data, the study showed. Some 63 percent said they would use a “privacy service,” which would manage their privacy settings based on their preferences on any device that they use.

Can Bots Be Trusted? Apparently So

Meanwhile, 51 percent said they would entrust their private data management needs to an Artificial Intelligence bot.

Among the many benefits gained by sharing their location data, people ranked greater car safety the highest, with some 73 percent of people saying they would be likely to share their location data in such a scenario. Services which enable people to save money, get discounts and rewards also ranked highly.

In more futuristic scenarios, 72 percent of consumers would be willing to share their location data for an autonomous car to find the most efficient routes, while 69 percent would share to enable a drone to find a missing person, pet or item.

“We believe the answer is in equipping people with transparent user-friendly settings that allow them to grant and withdraw access rights as well as manage their privacy preferences, helping them stay in better control of what they’re sharing across their digital life,” Kürpick says.

“For our part, we’re exploring privacy-as-a-service concepts for potential development,” he adds. “However, it is also paramount that there is a collaborative approach across different industry segments to develop the right solutions. Verimi, in which HERE is an investor, is a good example of a cross-industry initiative which will help people manage their data and privacy.”

Among the other findings from the HERE study:

  • Australian consumers are cautious about their location data and are more concerned about lack of transparency than the average
  • Brazilians are the most enthusiastic about sharing today, especially in the social context
  • France is the country where the ‘privacy paradox’ is most evident – with people expressing high concern about their privacy, but being less likely to do anything about it
  • In Germany, safety is paramount when it comes to sharing location data, with Germans more likely to restrict access and share location data with fewer apps than the global average
  • Consumers in Japan are the most anxious and strongly restrict access today, but they are willing to share for greater convenience and time savings
  • The Dutch are pragmatic in their behavior and value personalized services and increased control
  • UK consumers are the least restrictive in their behavior and less anxious than others
  • Americans trust ride hailing companies more than their government when it comes to location data
About The Author
David Kaplan David Kaplan @davidakaplan

A New York City-based journalist for over 20 years, David Kaplan is managing editor of A former editor and reporter at AdExchanger, paidContent, Adweek and MediaPost.