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.