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Your car is collecting a lot of information about you

Temeika Clay couldn’t perceive why her car insurance coverage premium shot up 80 p.c.

The Henry County, Georgia, resident did some digging and obtained the LexisNexis credit score report for her Chevy Camaro. The credit score report revealed GM had collected knowledge about her driving tendencies and made the information accessible to insurance coverage corporations.

“Never did I imagine [my car] would be spying on [me] and sending information about [my] driving habits. That’s just unbelievable,” Clay advised WSB-TV in Atlanta.

Clay’s LexisNexis paperwork revealed her automobile’s OnStar system tracked her acceleration, excessive pace, and onerous brake occasions. The paperwork revealed GM offered the information to knowledge brokers, who then handed it alongside to insurance coverage corporations. A GM spokesperson advised WSB OnStar Smart Driver knowledge is now not being shared with LexisNexis or knowledge analytics firm Versick.

“There are a lot of ways cars collect our data now, and it’s nuts. We don’t even think about it,” mentioned Jen Caltrider, director of the Privacy Not Included mission at Mozilla. “Cars are an absolute privacy nightmare and it kind of snuck up on all of us.”

Caltrider and her researchers reviewed 25 car brands in 2023 and located each one collected “more personal data than necessary and uses that information for a reason other than to operate your vehicle and manage their relationship with you.”Caltrider’s group listed dozens of categories car makers can acquire about you, together with cellular gadget areas, monetary account numbers, billing information, IP tackle, bodily traits, and even information about your sexual orientation and sexual exercise.

“The amount of data the car companies said they collect really had our eyes popping,” Caltrider mentioned. “When we started looking into it, we realized cars collect way more data than they need to collect to get you from point A to point B safely.”

According to Caltrider’s analysis, 84 p.c of the car manufacturers they researched “share or sell your data.” Caltrider’s group additionally discovered car makers can acquire voice recordings, route historical past, biometric information, automobile pace, use of the accelerator, and information about braking habits.

“Asking consumers to try and find and read the privacy documentation, I can tell you from experience as a privacy researcher, it was nearly impossible,” Caltrider mentioned. “Knowing when your car is transmitting data and having a way to shut that down could void your car’s warranty, so there aren’t a lot of great options for consumers. That’s why I think we’re way past time for a strong consumer federal privacy law.”

Massachusetts Senator Ed Markey sent a letter to the Federal Trade Commission in February, urging regulators to research the info privateness practices of auto producers.

“With new advances in vehicle technology and services, automakers have been vacuuming up huge amounts of data on drivers, passengers, and even individuals outside the vehicle,” Markey mentioned. “Automakers face few, if any, limitations on the collection, use, and disclosure of this data. Consumers are often left in the dark. I therefore urge the FTC to investigate the automakers’ data practices and take all necessary actions to protect the privacy of all road users.”

Iskander Sanchez-Role, director of Privacy Innovation at Norton, mentioned the hazard related to this type of knowledge assortment contains knowledge misuse and breaches.

“The collection and transmission of sensitive driving data raises the risk of a data breach. If hackers gain unauthorized access to this information, they leverage this personal information to perform personalized phishing attacks that could lead to identity theft or other privacy violations in the future,” Sanchez-Rola mentioned.

Sanchez-Rola recommends car homeowners use Vehicle Privacy Report to be taught extra about the information their car maker is collecting. Cyberbit CEO Caleb Barlow mentioned it is important for car homeowners to “scrub” and restore their autos to a manufacturing facility setting earlier than promoting or buying and selling them in.

“Remember, your car knows as much about you as your phone does. When you go to sell, you’ve got to wipe all your data off that car,” Barlow mentioned.

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