Hilmar Dunker

Hilmar Dunker is editor-in-chief of automotiveIT and carIT magazine

As connected cars start generating more and more data, one important and central question is: Who owns these data? It's a legitimate question and. so far, no one has come up with a truly satisfactory answer.

Experts warn that, from a legal point of view, it is difficult to establish ownership of data. In Germany, lawyer Alexander Duisberg sees this as "a big hole in the German legal system."

So in the absence of a legal framework for automotive data ownership, one thing is clear. For the benefit of all concerned, this situation needs to be rectified.

At European Union headquarters in Brussels, politicians are trying to push through new "eCall" technology to give cars a mandatory automatic emergency calling system. But the data privacy issue is left unresolved.

Where does the emergency call generated by a vehicle in trouble go? To Europe's general 112 emergency phone number or to a third party? And if it is the latter, who is that third party? The carmaker?

There's another issue playing out in the background. Insurance companies are resisting the auto industry's moves to own at least some of the data. Given the commercial potential that lies dormant in all that driver and car information, they would rather have ownership themselves.

It's clear that a lot of questions need to be answered. It will be interesting to see who will make the first sensible move in this game.

-By Hilmar Dunker