The Importance of Privacy by Design for Motor Vehicles

As the technology within cars advance, so do their capabilities of tracking and sharing your data. Data mining has become a new lucrative revenue stream for car companies.

In recent days, Ford CEO Jim Hackett announced that: “We have 100 million people in vehicles today that are sitting in Ford blue-oval vehicles. That’s the case for monetizing opportunity versus an upstart who maybe has, I don’t know, what, they got 120, or 200,000 vehicles in place now. And so just compare the two stacks: Which one would you like to have the data from?”

Ford has also been gathering data on people from loan applications. The loan applications relate to vehicles and household appliances. In the applications people provide data on their income, where they live, if they are married, and how long they have lived somewhere.

Additionally, once you pair your cellphone with your car (via Bluetooth), the car stores your phone number, your call logs, and sometimes the cellphone calls themselves. By storing the cellphone calls, law enforcement agencies can gain access to calls made through the vehicle rather than going to the cellphone manufacturer.

In the article Cartapping: How Feds Have Spied on Connected Cars for 15 years, it was reported that: “General Motors (GM) ha[s] repeatedly worked with cops to hand over not just location but also audio, where conversations were recorded when the in-car cellular connection was switched on… [P]olice are trying to massage laws that were written at the time, in some cases when we didn’t even have the internet or the concept of a telephone, or GPS, and massage them to fit these modern technologies.”

Privacy by design in motor vehicles is needed. Technology advancement is outpacing our laws.


(Views are my own and do not represent the views of any organization.)

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