A Florida man sued GM and LexisNexis over the sale of his Cadillac data


When Romeo Chicco tried to get auto insurance in December, he was rejected by seven different companies. When they finally did get insurance, it was almost double the rate they were paying before. According to a federal complaint filed this week seeking class-action status, it was because their 2021 Cadillac XT6 was spying on them.

Modern cars are called “smartphones on wheels” because they are connected to the Internet and loaded with sensors and cameras. According to the complaint, an agent at Liberty Mutual told Mr. Chicco that he was rejected because of information in his “LexisNexis Report.” LexisNexis Risk Solutions, a data broker, traditionally tracks drivers' transfer violations, prior insurance coverage and accidents for insurers.

When Mr. Chicco requested his LexisNexis file, it contained details of 258 trips he had taken in his Cadillac over the past six months. His file included an account of the distance he traveled, when the journey began and ended, and any speeding and hard braking or acceleration. The data was provided by General Motors, the manufacturer of their Cadillacs.

In a complaint against General Motors and LexisNexis Risk Solutions, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida, Mr. Chicco accused the companies of violating privacy and consumer protection laws. The lawsuit follows a report by The New York Times that, unbeknownst to consumers, automakers are sharing information about their driving behavior with the insurance industry, resulting in lower insurance rates for some drivers. developed. LexisNexis Risk Solutions and another data broker called Verisk claim to have real-world driving behavior of millions of cars.

In his complaint, Mr. Chicco said he repeatedly called GM and LexisNexis to ask why his data was collected without his consent. They were eventually told that their data had been sent through OnStar – GM's connected services company, which is also named in the lawsuit – and that they had enrolled in OnStar's Smart Driver program, which provides driver feedback and digital badges for good driving. There is a facility to receive.

Mr. Chicco said he had not signed up for OnStar or Smart Driver, although he had downloaded MyCadillac, a General Motors app for his car.

“No one can tell me how I got into this,” Mr. Chicco told The Times in an interview this month. “You can tell me how many times I did hard-acceleration between 6 a.m. and 8 a.m. on January 30, but you can't tell me how I enrolled in it?”

Mallory Lucich, a spokeswoman for GM, previously said that customers enrolled for SmartDriver in its connected car app or at a dealership, and a section in the OnStar privacy statement explained that their data could be shared with “third parties.” Is. Asked about the lawsuit, he said in an email that the company was “reviewing the complaint” and had no comment, instead pointing to a statement the company previously made about OnStar Smart Drivers.

“GM's OnStar Smart Driver service is optional for customers,” the statement said. “Customer benefits include learning more about their safe driving behavior or vehicle performance, which can be used to obtain an insurance quote with their consent. Customers can de-enroll from Smart Driver at any time.

LexisNexis Risk Solutions, which previously said it analyzed the type of driving data Mr. Chicco found in his file to create risk scores that it sold to insurers, declined to comment.

Mr. Chicco previously said, “I would never have allowed this data to get out there.” When reached after the case was registered, he said that he had no comment to make.

David Vladeck, a Georgetown law professor who previously ran the bureau for consumer protection at the Federal Trade Commission, said the driving data companies were collecting was considered too sensitive, meaning consumers were given “clear information.” Must be known and there must be clear consent for its collection and sale.

Mr. Vladeck said he would expect an investigation by the FTC as well as lawsuits by consumers against automakers and data brokers.

“Just wait for the avalanche,” he said. “He's coming.”


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