Gone are the days where a person with two tools and basic mechanical knowledge can fix a car. Modern cars are complex computers that use tons of data that are subject to storage, use and distribution without the owner having much say about it.
A study by the nonprofit Mozilla Foundation, dedicated to promoting openness, innovation and free participation on the Internet, concluded that cars are currently “the worst category of privacy products we’ve ever tested.” ,” which makes it a lot to say in a world where smartphones and wearable technology are with us everywhere all the time.
Why are modern cars a problem for privacy?
The Mozilla Foundation based its study on 25 car brands, and concluded that all of them, without exception, although to varying degrees, constitute a threat to the privacy of their car owners, so that they are given the “privacy not included” warning. . These are the reasons:
All brands collect more personal eye data than they need
- According to the study, every car brand examined collects more personal data from users than is necessary for the operation of the car and uses that information for a reason other than operating the car and managing its relationship with user.
- This data includes how users interact with the car, the services they use, information taken from their phones, their transportation habits and information taken from third parties such as Google. Maps or Sirius XM.
- The Mozilla Foundation warns that “cars can collect super intimate information about you, from your medical information, your genetic information, to your “sex life” (seriously), how fast you drive, where you drive, and what songs you play. your car. “self” and use it to “make more data about you through “inferences” about things like your intelligence, abilities, and interests .”
21 of the 25 car brands in the study share or sell their user data
- Not only do manufacturers use users’ personal information “for their own research, marketing or other “commercial purposes,” 21 of them said they “may share your personal data with service providers, data brokers, and other companies.” and 19 even say they can sell it.
- 14 of the brands said they could share information with the government or authorities in response to a simple “request” without requiring a court order.
Only two manufacturers give their users any control over their personal data
- The study shows that those manufacturers, Renault and Dacia, say that all drivers have the right to remove.
- The report says that cars from both brands are only available in Europe and are therefore governed by the strict privacy rules of the European Union.
- Nissan, which is part of the same industrial conglomerate as Renault and Dacia, does not give users control over their data.
The study cannot confirm whether any of the manufacturers meet the Mozilla Foundation’s minimum data security standards.
- Mozilla says they can’t verify users’ cars, which they say is the least they can do to protect them.
- Of the 25 manufacturers in the study, only Ford, Honda and Mercedes-Benz answered Mozilla’s questions, but they still did not confirm the security measures taken to protect the data and still did not fully answer our criteria security questions.
Some curiosities of the study
- Tesla vehicles are the second product reviewed by Mozilla that failed in all privacy categories, the first being an artificial intelligence (AI) chatbot.
- Tesal is the only manufacturer to get the label “unreliable AI”, because the study says that “the brand’s AI-powered autopilot has been linked to 17 deaths and 736 accidents and is now the subject in many government investigations.”
- Nissan took second to last place for collecting data categories about “sexual activity” of its users.
- No car brand uses language that meets Mozilla’s privacy standards for sharing information with governments or authorities.
- The brands included in the study, from best to worst in terms of privacy, are: Renault, Dacia, BMW, Subaru, Fiat, Jeep, Chrysler, Dodge, Volkswagen, Toyota, Lexus, Ford, Lincoln, Audi , Mercedes-Benz, Honda, Acura, Kia, Chevrolet, Buick, GMC, Cadillac, Hyundai, Nissan and Tesla.
The report concludes that “car companies clearly know what they need to do to respect your privacy, but they’re not doing it.”
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