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Volkswagen: Big Data Doesn’t Have to Mean Big Brother

Ina Fried: “Given the vast amounts of data that will be collected by the cars of the future, strict protections are needed to prevent government intrusion, the chairman of Volkswagen Group said on Sunday. “The car must not become a data monster,” Martin Winterkorn said, at the start of the CeBit trade show in Germany. Car makers already protect drivers from hydroplaning, fatigue and traffic. They must also protect against government misuse of data, he said. “I clearly say yes to Big Data, yes to greater security and convenience, but no to paternalism and Big Brother,” Winterkorn said, according to an English translation of his prepared remarks. He called for a voluntary commitment from the car industry to protect customer data and said his company stands ready to join such an effort. The data protection concerns voiced by Winterkorn were echoed by government and industry speakers at the lavish opening ceremonies for CeBit, an event that also featured German Chancellor Angela Merkel and British Prime Minister David Cameron. Merkel called on international efforts to ensure data is protected. “We are only at the beginning of that road,” she said. “National policies will not suffice.” Privacy issues are likely to loom large at CeBit, which takes place in Germany, one of the most privacy-concerned countries in the world.”

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