I had the pleasure of participating in a panel at the Connected Car Pavilion titled, “The Car Hacks are Coming – How the Auto Industry Can Safeguard Connected Cars.” Fellow panelists took questions from moderator Mike Courtney, from Aperio Insights, that tackled several issues including:  what’s a real threat and what’s not, what do we have to do to prepare for a real threat and who needs to take responsibility.

AVG is the online security company – for devices, data, and people. We provide people with important tools to help manage their lives and those of their families: from antivirus protection to taking control of your privacy settings.   Right now we provide a sense of security for 177 million active users — whether that is on your mobile phone, tablet, or laptop.  But soon those connected devices will be everything from your refrigerator to your thermostat to, yes, even your car.  All online and transmitting data.

On top of security, the biggest issue I foresee is that we have to get to the root of the data – how are we going to collect it, safeguard it, and take control of the privacy?  Technology will resolve the security, but AVG would like vehicle manufacturers to be clear about what data they are collecting and how they are using it. We’d also like them to be clear about what’s being done with the data if the car is resold or traded.  Can there be a mechanism to reset the vehicle to factory default upon ownership change?

These are steps toward developing trust among consumers.  We know this is a tall order because AVG partnered with the MEF Global Consumer Trust Report who surveyed 10,000 mobile media users in 13 countries and found trust was the number one concern when it comes to issues on privacy, transparency and security.

Taking a look at who’s responsible for protecting the data, of course, brings up the question – who owns the data?  We feel there needs to be complete transparency.  For example, AVG recently rolled out a short data privacy notice within its mobile apps to make it transparent to customers what data is collected and how it is shared. Call it a “nutritional label”, of sorts.

AVG believes consumers should understand what is being transmitted and in the future, we see the entertainment console in a connected car as another device that needs the same protection.

Watch our video report from the connect car pavilion.

The Connected Car Pavilion was hosted by Waggener Edstrom Communications and auto journalist and expert Doug Newcomb on March 8, 2014 in Austin, Texas.