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What to do with data in vehicles once they arrive at your yard?

Gayle Parker from GDPR Solutions gives us an insight into what happens with data found in vehicles in your yard since the General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) in the Data Protection Act 2018 came into force earlier this year. 

Now that all the fuss has died down around GDPR and businesses are now getting on with things under the new legislation, a number of issues are starting to emerge in how the new rules affect different industries. One such issue is the amount of personal data that can be found in cars as a result of on board computers. This is particularly relevant to dismantler’s yards who receive a great many cars which may hold such data.

With recent technological advancements in car manufacturing, particularly around the idea of ‘connected cars’, the vehicle captures vast amounts of data via its On Board Diagnostic (OBD) systems, including driving destinations and phone contacts, addresses and text messages and the amount of data being captured is growing by the day. These are all personal and sometimes sensitive bits of data which fall under the purview of the General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) in the Data Protection Act 2018.

So what happens to this data when the car is scrapped? 

The car makers have not made it easy to disconnect or wipe data from an OBD, not that many drivers would necessarily think to do this anyway. So cars will often arrive at a scrapyard still fully loaded with data. It then becomes the organisations responsibility to ensure the data is treated in accordance with the principles of GDPR. Those principles are: 

  1. Lawfulness, fairness and transparency – data should be processed lawfully, fairly and in a transparent manner in relation to individuals rights;
  2. Purpose limitation – data should be collected for specified, explicit and legitimate purposes and not further processed in a manner that is incompatible with those purposes; further processing for archiving purposes in the public interest, scientific or historical research purposes or statistical purposes shall not be considered to be incompatible with the initial purposes;
  3. Data minimisation – the data collected should be adequate, relevant and limited to what is necessary in relation to the purposes for which they are processed;
  4. Accuracy – data must be accurate and, where necessary, kept up to date; every reasonable step must be taken to ensure that personal data that are inaccurate, having regard to the purposes for which they are processed, are erased or rectified without delay;
  5. Storage limitation – kept in a form which permits identification of data subjects for no longer than is necessary for the purposes for which the personal data are processed; personal data may be stored for longer periods insofar as the personal data will be processed solely for archiving purposes in the public interest, scientific or historical research purposes or statistical purposes subject to implementation of the appropriate technical and organisational measures required by the GDPR in order to safeguard the rights and freedoms of individuals;
  6. Security – data must be processed in a manner that ensures appropriate security of the personal data, including protection against unauthorised or unlawful processing and against accidental loss, destruction or damage, using appropriate technical or organisational measures.

Because the personal data in the cars has no audit trail, complying with the six principles under GDPR regulations would be extremely difficult. Therefore data should be erased as soon as possible not only to protect the organisation but if a third party were to compromise the data for their own uses and it is traced back to the organisation then the organisation could be liable for a fine of up to 4% of yearly turnover. 

Ensuring that there are processes in place will help protect your business from any exposure under these privacy laws. This could include updating your privacy policy to reflect the deletion process and getting a document signed when a car is dropped off that covers the yard in terms of data protection. 

If you would like to find out more about how you can protect your business when it comes to data protection, contact GDPR Data Solutions on 01604 372355 or email info@gdprdatasolutions.co.uk or take a look at their website at www.gdprdatasolutions.co.uk 

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