As the new year gets underway, the data privacy debate rages on, with new rules and regulations emerging all over the world. This time, the US provides us with an example of car data ownership that may have you scratching your head.

A recent TechCrunch article covered Massachusetts’ passing of its “Right to Repair” law, which gives car owners access to all their vehicle’s data. According to the article, the measure “…could have widespread implications for the automotive industry ecosystem: once a person buys a vehicle, they own all of its data.”

Indeed, as strange as it sounds, the state of Massachusetts, and overwhelmingly its voters, passed a law giving consumers ownership of something they theoretically already possess. In short, the bill’s premise was to give consumers the right to repair something they already own-—in this case, cars—without needing to rely on the manufacturer for critical information. However, the issue is not as simple as it sounds. The reasons behind this legislation could have a much broader and more profound impact.

The key to getting this done is requiring auto manufacturers to provide an open data platform with every vehicle. According to the article, “The measure will require automakers that sell vehicles with telematics systems in Massachusetts to equip them with a standardized open data platform beginning with model year 2022. This standardized open data platform has to give vehicle owners and independent repair facilities direct access and the ability to retrieve mechanical data and run diagnostics through a mobile-based application.”

As you can imagine, the legislation has both supporters and opponents from across the spectrum in the auto industry. Indeed, the implications of this legislation can extend far beyond cars as Internet of Things (IoT) driven data capture accelerates in the coming years. It serves as a timely reminder for business executives that the use of consumer data will only expand in importance in the future, and its value and ownership will continue to be an important point of discussion.

If you’d like to explore this topic further, see these recent APEX of Innovation posts on what business leaders need to know about personal data, how to build trusted customer data relationships, and the latest on Internet browser privacy and control.