Automobile: hold-up on our personal data, the gafam at work!
The automotive industry, like all industrial sectors, is moving forward at full speed with its digital transformation. This transformation affects several aspects, such as the customer experience of online purchasing, but also and above all the equipment of vehicles. This digitalization of cars is becoming an imperative, with the mass arrival of the electric car, where most of the maintenance is done remotely…
This is one of the reasons why, in the last few months, we have seen a lot of partnership announcements between car manufacturers and digital giants. Alas, the digital giants involved are American, as seen with the Renault-Google announcement (MacGeneration 08-11-22) and the use of Android Automotive, or with the partnership between Stellantis (Peugeot Citroën, etc. …) and AWS (Amazon) to “accelerate” the software transformation (Stellantis) with the objective of creating the SmartCockpit.
What do these communications, which could be found in other European automotive groups, tell us? Quite simply, it is a renunciation by our industrialists of the need to develop their own technology and thus to maintain a minimum level of strategic autonomy.
What are the consequences?
The first consequence, as I mentioned, is an increased dependence on American technologies, and therefore vulnerability to their technological embargoes, in addition to the risks inherent in the financial risks linked to the use of the dollar. Don’t our industrialists learn from the past? Stellantis, which had to withdraw from the Iranian market at the cost of huge economic losses, should have learned a few lessons, shouldn’t it? As for Renault, the withdrawal from these Russian activities has resulted in abysmal losses!
Here we are talking mainly about financial and market losses, but what consequences for employment, including in France?
Given the financial power of the #gafam, what are the risks of seeing one of them take possession of a European car company after having siphoned off all its data with its implicit consent?
The second danger, and it is a major one, concerns the future purchasers of these cars, which are completely locked by the American digital system. Indeed, how can we protect our personal data such as our biometric data that will be used for the interior settings (seat, etc…) or even to open and/or unlock the vehicle (facial recognition, fingerprints), your traffic and speed information, the places you go to (GPS)…
Will the consumer be able to ask to have a vehicle without Google for example in the case of Renault? How will these private data be processed, who will be the real holder, how to ensure that all the digital applications of these cars and their associated platforms will really be #RGPD compliant?
Once again, one wonders what capacity our leaders still have to think in the long term? I am afraid that the answer is contained in the question! From a personal point of view, I am not yet ready to switch to electric or to a more recent but completely gafamized car! I think I’ll keep my “has-been” car for a long time to come, but at least it’s still mostly mechanical and it doesn’t talk to my data!
What about you?