Cars Are Rolling Privacy Nightmares Says Mozilla As They Collect All Your Data… Including Data About Your Sex Life

Internet connected cars are all the rage at the moment. And I for one will not be buying one and I will be hanging on to my Internet disconnected car for as long as I can do so. The reason being is according to a study done by Mozilla, cars collect all sorts of data about you and sends it back to the manufacturer. And the kind of data that is collected is shocking:

We reviewed 25 car brands in our research and we handed out 25 “dings” for how those companies collect and use data and personal information. That’s right: every car brand we looked at collects more personal data than necessary and uses that information for a reason other than to operate your vehicle and manage their relationship with you. For context, 63% of the mental health apps (another product category that stinks at privacy) we reviewed this year received this “ding.”

And car companies have so many more data-collecting opportunities than other products and apps we use — more than even smart devices in our homes or the cell phones we take wherever we go. They can collect personal information from how you interact with your car, the connected services you use in your car, the car’s app (which provides a gateway to information on your phone), and can gather even more information about you from third party sources like Sirius XM or Google Maps. It’s a mess. The ways that car companies collect and share your data are so vast and complicated that we wrote an entire piece on how that works. The gist is: they can collect super intimate information about you — from your medical information, your genetic information, to your “sex life” (seriously), to how fast you drive, where you drive, and what songs you play in your car — in huge quantities. They then use it to invent more data about you through “inferences” about things like your intelligence, abilities, and interests.

The car companies then sell this data, as it’s a revenue source for them. And opting out of this data collection isn’t an option for the most part. Consent is an illusion as simply stepping into a car with this sort of tech qualifies as consent. And finally, all car companies do this.

This to me is not cool and I hope that consumers file complaints with the relevant government agencies (In Canada that’s the Privacy Commissioner) so that all of these car companies are forced to explain why they do this which may make them reconsider if they should be doing this at all.

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