One of the major sellers of detailed driver behavioral data is shutting down

Interior of car with different aspects of it highlighted, as if by a camera or AI

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One of the major data brokers engaged in the deeply alienating practice of selling detailed driver behavior data to insurers has shut down that business.

Verisk, which had collected data from cars made by General Motors, Honda, and Hyundai, has stopped receiving that data, according to The Record, a news site run by security firm Recorded Future. According to a statement provided to Privacy4Cars, and reported by The Record, Verisk will no longer provide a “Driving Behavior Data History Report” to insurers.

Skeptics have long assumed that car companies had at least some plan to monetize the rich data regularly sent from cars back to their manufacturers, or telematics. But a concrete example of this was reported by The New York Times’ Kashmir Hill, in which drivers of GM vehicles were finding insurance more expensive, or impossible to acquire, because of the kinds of reports sent along the chain from GM to data brokers to insurers. Those who requested their collected data from the brokers found details of every trip they took: times, distances, and every “hard acceleration” or “hard braking event,” among other data points.

While the data was purportedly coming from an opt-in “Smart Driver” program in GM cars, many customers reported having no memory of opting in to the program or believing that dealership salespeople activated it themselves or rushed them through the process. The Mozilla Foundation considers cars to be “the worst product category we have ever reviewed for privacy,” given the overly broad privacy policies owners must agree to, extensive data gathering, and general lack of safeguards or privacy guarantees available for US car buyers.

GM quickly announced a halt to data sharing in late March, days after the Times’ reporting sparked considerable outcry. GM had been sending data to both Verisk and LexisNexis Risk Solutions, the latter of which is not signaling any kind of retreat from the telematics pipeline. LexisNexis’ telematics page shows logos for carmakers Kia, Mitsubishi, and Subaru.

Ars contacted LexisNexis for comment and will update this post with new information.

Disclosure of GM’s stealthily authorized data sharing has sparked numerous lawsuits, investigations from California and Texas agencies, and interest from Congress and the Federal Trade Commission.

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