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Are modern cars a privacy nightmare? What you need to know

Every single brand researched collected more personal data than necessary.

Automakers have boasted that their vehicles are “computers on wheels” to highlight their cutting-edge technology for years. However, the debate about what computer use means for its occupants’ privacy has yet to grab on. Car manufacturers stealthily entered the data industry by converting their vehicles into potent data-gobbling machines. 

Mozilla researched 25 brands for their data collection and usage practices. Shockingly, every single brand collected more personal data than necessary. However, these vehicles used personal data for purposes other than operating the vehicle or managing customer relationships.

Moreover, automakers have more opportunities to collect data than other products and apps, including smart devices and cell phones. They can gather data from how you interact with the car, connected services, and third-party sources like Sirius XM or Google Maps. The ways they collect and share data are complex and vast, including super intimate information such as medical and genetic data, driving habits, “sexual activity,” and music preferences. They also use this data to infer your intelligence, abilities, and interests. 

However, 84% of the automakers surveyed claim they can share your personal information with service providers, data brokers, and other companies we don’t know much about. Even worse, 76% claim they can sell your personal information.

It’s concerning to see how many car companies are collecting creepy categories of data. In fact, one review gave Tesla a “privacy ding” for their AI-powered autopilot being involved in multiple accidents and deaths. Nissan got called out for collecting data on users’ sexual activity. Furthermore, Kia also mentions they can collect information about your “sex life” in their privacy policy. Therefore, it’s essential to read these “privacy” policies carefully and be aware of what data is being collected.

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Jaelyn Campbell
Jaelyn Campbell
Jaelyn Campbell is a staff writer/reporter for CBT News. She is a recent honors cum laude graduate with a BFA in Mass Media from Valdosta State University. Jaelyn is an enthusiastic creator with more than four years of experience in corporate communications, editing, broadcasting, and writing. Her articles in The Spectator, her hometown newspaper, changed how people perceive virtual reality. She connects her readers to the facts while providing them a voice to understand the challenges of being an entrepreneur in the digital world.

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