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Your Car Is Spying on You


A modern car is like high-tech spacecraft, equipped with navigation systems, touchscreen interfaces, music streaming, and assisted-driving features. However, along with these advancements comes a significant invasion of privacy, as cars collect vast amounts of data about drivers and their habits, which they can then share without the drivers’ knowledge.

Data collection in modern cars is extensive, involving microphones, cameras, sensors, and connected apps. Car manufacturers can potentially access information about music preferences, conversations, and locations visited. This data can impact insurance rates, with General Motors transmitting driving data to data brokers like Lexis Nexis, resulting in increased insurance rates based on driving behavior.

Advertising is another concern, as data about driving habits can be shared with data brokers who then sell it to advertising partners, resulting in targeted ads. Additionally, car manufacturers can share data with law enforcement without the driver’s consent.

What You Can Do to Protect Your Privacy

  1. Request reports: Obtain consumer disclosure reports from companies like Lexis Nexis and Verisk to understand the data collected about your driving habits. Use services like Vehicle Privacy Report to analyze data collected by your car.
  2. Opt out: Review your vehicle’s settings to disable any suspicious privacy or advertising options. Consider limiting data sharing with the manufacturer and third parties through the car’s interface and associated apps.
  3. Contact the Manufacturer: Reach out to the car manufacturer directly to opt out of data collection. Many manufacturers have dedicated web pages and customer service lines for privacy concerns.
  4. Contact Your Insurer: Inquire whether your insurer uses data from your car for risk assessment. Consider switching to an insurer that does not utilize this data if privacy concerns persist.

However, the lack of awareness about the collection of what data, how they’re using it, and the potential consequences remains a significant challenge in protecting privacy in an increasingly connected automotive landscape.
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