Data privacy: Your car is harvesting information about you

As we become more reliant on tech in our daily lives, privacy becomes even more of a pressing issue. And while everyone's attention was on phones, browsers and smart hubs an unlikely culprit quickly became problematic: cars.

data privacy cars
© Randy Tarampi/Unsplash
data privacy cars

In the extremely connected age that we live in, technological advancements like phones computers, and smart homes promised an increase in quality of life but also ushered in new challenges.One of the biggest of these is privacy. The internet has created an environment where everything can be tracked, information has become a highly coveted currency to be harvested and sold in a new market. Companies have expanded their strategies to include data as an important tool for monetization which has slowly turned consumers into products themselves. While attention was on phones, smart watches, home pods and speakers another player slowly and inconspicuously etched their way into the data business by harvesting unique data points efficiently: car manufacturers.

Discover our latest podcast

How do cars collect data?

Cars are now marketed not only by the performance ability of their wheels engines and suspensions but also by the amount of tech they pack within them. The comfort and convenience offered by many of the bells and whistles controlled by a central computer are a gateway to a machine that logs every single interaction you have with it to be sent to the manufacturer to be packaged and sold. Furthermore, the cars pack sensors, cameras, and microphones that still collect data while awaiting commands. Your phone is another avenue for data collection as the car will collect information from the device while it is connected to it.

What kind of data is collected?

Some sensors in cars collect information such as eye position, body language, and heart rate. Services like GPS navigation allow the manufacturer to also have detailed knowledge about important locations you frequent. As previously mentioned, when you connect your phone to a car or you download the car’s application on your device data can be sifted through allowing car makers access to the wealth of information on your phone. When all of these data points are combined, car companies can create incredibly detailed profiles on their users which allow them to be shared with data brokers, the government, service providers and any other interested party.

According to Mozilla Foundation’s Privacy Not Included, some data points are:

  • name
  • address
  • phone number
  • email
  • age
  • date of birth
  • demographic data
  • protected classification information
  • your mobile device location

Car manufacturers also cross reference the information on cars and phones to create ‘inferences’ thereby creating new data. They use intimate information to come up with detailed profiles that are very coveted for anyone with a vested interest...

Read more:

Ever felt like your phone was listening? It is and you can stop it by deleting this popular app

Millions have their data stolen in global fraud: Check here to see if you’re a victim


Privacy Not Included: What Data Does My Car Collect About Me and Where Does It Go?

Privacy Not Included: Cars Are the Worst Product Category We Have Ever Reviewed for Privacy

Facebook users: Activate these settings immediately to protect your privacy Facebook users: Activate these settings immediately to protect your privacy