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2015-09-17 08:28

CYBER SECURITY THREAT: As cyber security threats continue to grow, automakers have pledged to protect customer data. Image: YouTube

Frankfurt - European automakers agreed to rules for data protection  in light of increasing digitalisation within the auto industry, manufacturers said at the 2015 Frankfurt auto show.

Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn, who is also president of the European Automobile Manufacturers Association (ACEA), said: "Data protection is an issue that automakers take very seriously."

Protecting customers

The ACEA has drawn up five basic principles for its members to follow that deal with transparency, customer agreements, the protection of the private sphere, data integrity and the appropriate use of data.

Ghosn added that it was in manufacturers' interest to retain the confidence of its customers.

Read: 15 ways your car can be hacked

According to a poll conducted by German IT association Bitkom, just 34% of those surveyed agreed "in principle" that data about the vehicle, driving behaviour and location are collated and processed.

By contrast, more than 80% of survey takers would surrender that same data to clear up accidents or solve crime, under condition that storage was temporary and subject to supervision by the courts.

VIDEO: Watch how experts hack into a moving car

Daimler chairman Dieter Zetsche said: "Customers pay for our products with money, not with their personal details."

'Crypto chip' at Frankfurt

Daimler sees a potential use in offering drivers of its Mercedes cars additional services.

US computing giant IBM and German chip card specialist Giesecke & Devrient presented a "crypto chip" at the IAA that encodes data flows within the car and secures cloud connections.

Auto digitalisation is not without controversy; highly publicised demonstrations of how hackers outside a car can take control of anything from windscreen wipers to accelerator pedals using fairly basic equipment have drawn attention in recent weeks.

Ahead of the Frankfurt show, Porsche CEO Matthias Mueller poured scorn on the idea of driverless motoring.

Mueller told German motoring magazine Auto Motor und Sport: "Autonomous driving for me is just hype. I ask myself how a programmer should decide whether a driverless car should, in an emergency, turn right into the truck or left into the compact car."

Despite the controversy, the German cabinet in Berlin approved a strategy document on investment in digital infrastructure.

Vice Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel, calling on German industry to play a pioneering role, said: "The future belongs to automated and networked driving.

"Automated driving is a major driver of innovation and value creation."

The Bitkom poll found that just 7% of Germans surveyed would be happy to surrender control of their cars to a computer on all roads. That figure rose to 15% for motorway driving, and to 45% when stuck in a motorway queue.

More than 25% said they would not under any circumstances let the computer take over.

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