A new set of data protection regulations have been introduced by the European Parliament to try and protect the privacy of drivers in light of the increase in connectivity within company car and van fleets. In future, drivers will need to provide a much higher level of consent, and the definition of what currently constitutes personal data will also be changed. There will also be far tougher sanctions for those falling foul of the rules. Businesses operating fleets will have two years to comply with the new regulations, which were introduced in order to combat issues arising from connected products and services, in which vehicles are included. Frans Timmermans, first vice-president of the European Commission, said: 'Individuals must be empowered; they must know what their rights are and know how to defend their rights if they feel they are not respected. 'The new rules will ensure that the fundamental right to personal data protection is guaranteed for all.î Connectivity is becoming increasingly common in both cars and vans, with sat-nav units and apps like Google Maps being used to plan longer journeys. Experts predict that 90 per cent of new cars will be connected by 2020 and that real-time information will be shared on a mass scale as standard. Though manufacturers have been keen to highlight the huge potential economic and environmental benefits of the technology, there are obviously a number of issues that will need to be dealt with. Erik Jonnaert, Secretary General for the European Automobile Manufacturers' Association (ACEA) noted there were 'many challenges on the road aheadî. The new regulations are included under the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) which currently only apply to personal data. However, because the definition of personal data is also changing, it's considered likely that much of the data produced by fleets will be included. Legal expert, Stephen Appt, said: 'Data that identifies drivers indirectly would be considered personal data. 'This legal framework will not only apply to data in the EU, it will apply to everybody supplying goods and services to the EU.î Driver consent for data-sharing services will become crucial: consent must be 'unambiguous' and confirmed by some form of 'statement or clear affirmative action'. 'Pre-ticked boxes will not constitute consent,î added Appt.