Fenwick privacy & cybersecurity co-chair Jim Koenig and privacy & cybersecurity managing director Jim Gregoire discussed privacy trends and industry practices designed to clear the road for increased trust and adoption of connected and autonomous vehicles on the Inside Transportation podcast.

"I think there's a perfect storm that's here now that's intermixing the Internet of Things (IoT), sensors, machine learning and low-cost, but super-high-power processors to put technologies in our cars, unlike anything that’s ever been seen before, which will significantly accelerate the progress and the promise of autonomous and connected vehicles," Koenig said.

With this new technology comes key privacy considerations, including how to balance user privacy with data availability in autonomous vehicles. “It's not the information, it's the uses,” Koenig said. “There's a balance of wanting to be able to give extreme privacy rights and keep data separate and small to limit liability. At the other side, the more data you have, the more data you put into the data lake, the more accurate your machine learning is, the better your autonomous vehicle and safety habits are. It's really about making sure that you balance the information that's in there for the uses that they need with respect for the sensitivity of the data and the amount of security you have invested in the system.”

Koenig and Gregoire discussed how the model of affiliated consent—consumers giving decision-making power to a trusted third party, rather than evaluating and opting in again at each interaction—could play an important role in navigating some of the privacy considerations related to connected car technologies. “In many ways, this is an idea that is solving a problem that people don't know they have yet,” Gregoire said of affiliated consent, noting that this approach could provide users a more seamless experience. “It's the avoidance of the annoyance of all these perpetual pop-ups and having to grant permission over and over.”

Listen to the full podcast episode to learn more about the privacy questions raised by connected and autonomous vehicles. For more autonomous vehicle insights, also see the Inside Transportation podcast episode featuring John McNelis, co-chair of Fenwick’s autonomous transportation and shared mobility practice.

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