How HERE handles personal data

Jamie Stevenson
London 51° 30' 23.112" N, -0° 7' 37.956" E" E

With cars becoming more connected and offering everything from route guidance to recommended stops, data privacy is becoming a relevant issue for many drivers, who are eager to reap the benefits that this new world promises, while ensuring that their personal data is safe.

We spoke with Henri Kujala, chief privacy officer at HERE, who told us about how HERE ensures the privacy of its users, and outlined how and why data privacy is becoming a vital topic for people to consider:

“Privacy is so contextual – different people have different expectations of privacy, and there is not one unique definition that we can turn to. We want to outline to our users that privacy is taken into account with all HERE services, and how we do that.”

Embedded compliance

Henri tells us more about his role, and the way HERE approaches data privacy:

“My team is responsible for ensuring data privacy compliance in all of our services, and also assisting teams in addressing privacy issues when approaching potential customers.”

“HERE builds both middleware components, as well as fully embedded solutions for vehicles. With HERE products, we make compliance apparent from a very early stage, and actually embed our privacy settings into the product. From the very beginning, potential customers can see how we treat privacy.”

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Indeed, as cars become more connected and more data is collected and used by automakers, it is vital for both drivers and the automotive companies to ensure that the system they use is data privacy compliant. HERE works to design its services to ensure that different types of data collected in and from the car are accorded an appropriate level of privacy protection.  For example, data concerning the music a driver listens to or the radio stations chosen are provided a higher level of protection than data concerning the wear patterns and usage of the car’s brakes.

Demonstrating privacy in HERE Auto

In a recent demonstration, HERE highlighted the data collected and used by HERE Auto when providing route guidance and showcased how the company ensures the privacy of its customers.

“In the context of the demo, we tried to visualise offerings that have been in place from very early on in our products, but aren’t known by everybody. For example, the vehicle’s location is stored in the cloud, so if you have a parked car but can’t remember where your vehicle is, you can find it using the application. This only takes place, however, if you have enabled the synchronisation of the location of your parked car, i.e. without an informed choice of the consumer no data about the location of the car will be disclosed.”

“Another component we shared was the ability to choose the level in which you use the application, whether that’s offline, online without an account, or online with an account. This allows you to specify the level of data used, and is up to the driver so that they can choose how to use the application.”

HERE also uses data in ways that are more useful for the driver, such as providing contextual information such as suggested parking spots, rather than a deluge of irrelevant advertisements.

Henri adds, “Our vehicles can also learn from user behavior, recommending preferential routes, for example, from work to home.”

Home comforts

As people become increasingly aware of data privacy, concerns around companies’ level of access to their data are rising. At the same time, privacy-aware companies are taking measures to prevent accidental disclosure of too much information when focusing on offering targeted services.

Henri tells us more about such design in traffic service context:

“HERE takes crowdsourcing of traffic data to offer traffic services, and protects the origin of the driver so that the data is collected after the movement is started, but only after the driver passes through a certain threshold. This means that the crowdsourcing is only enabled after a few hundred metres from, say, home, preventing this information from being shared.”

From the earliest possible stage, HERE products are designed to ensure that people’s data is used in ways that benefit them, without compromising privacy. As this issue becomes more pressing thanks to the development of the connected car, HERE is proud to be at the forefront of the privacy debate.

Topics: Automotive, Big Data, Data visualization, Features, Editor's picks, What HERE does

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