Mercedes-Benz is now facing a possible government investigation over reports that the German luxury carmaker uses its location sensors to track and repossess vehicles when drivers fail to make payments on time.
This raised privacy concern in the United Kingdom, which prompted at least one politician to call for a government investigation into the issue.
Location sensors or car trackers are installed in almost all new vehicles in Europe. They are used in the event of a crash. But lately, it was found out that Mercedes might be activating these trackers to find the cars and repossess them when their drivers fail to make payments.
A report from CNN Business quoted s spokeswoman from the company who said that drivers agree to the tracking method when they signed the financial agreement with the car manufacturer. The process is only taken when the terms of the contract have been breached.
The spokeswoman said that the tracking of the vehicles only happens “as a last resort.” This is when customers breached the contract of the finance agreement and failed to return the vehicle even after repeated requests from the company.
Former British cabinet minister David Davis questioned the use of sensors. He was the one who urged the government to look into the matter. Hannah Couchman, a policy and campaigns officer at human rights organization Liberty, said that surveillance is problematic because it is a threat to the public’s privacy.
In March 2018, the European Parliament said that all new cars and light vans in the European Union must be able to transmit data, including a car’s location, to emergency services in the event of a crash. The call should only give minimum data such as the type of vehicle, the fuel used, the time of the accident, the exact location and the number of passengers. The system should maintain dormant unless a major accident occurs.