New report suggests alarming data privacy failures in new cars

New study reveals a concerning “F” grade in data privacy for new cars, making them the worst category among tech products. Major automakers admit to potentially selling your data and sharing it with the government without court orders.

Automotive production line. Welding car body. Modern car Assembly plant

A recent investigation has exposed that new automobiles have received a dismal ‘F’ rating in terms of data privacy, ranking them as the lowest-performing category among various products, which includes fitness trackers and smart speakers, assessed by Mozilla since 2017. The study uncovered that most prominent car manufacturers openly admit to the possibility of selling personal data and are open to sharing it with government authorities or law enforcement agencies without requiring a court order.

As vehicles incorporate an increasing number of sensors, ranging from telematics to digital control systems, they have essentially transformed into extensive data-collection hubs. However, vehicle owners exercise minimal authority over the data that is amassed.

Additionally, the investigation underscored the existence of vague security standards within the automotive sector, leading to concerns about vulnerability to cyberattacks. Surprisingly, not a single one of the 25 car brands subjected to Mozilla’s scrutiny met the organization’s minimum privacy criteria, in stark contrast to other product categories. While the Alliance for Automotive Innovation, a group representing car manufacturers, has advocated for federal privacy legislation, it has expressed reservations regarding permitting customers to fully opt out of data collection.

Why does this matter?

This highlights the escalating concern regarding personal data privacy in contemporary automobiles, emphasizing the necessity for enhanced transparency and control for car owners. The willingness of car manufacturers to share data with the government without a court order raises legal and civil liberties concerns, potentially infringing upon individuals’ rights. Car owners should have control over the data their vehicles collect. The study highlights a lack of transparency and control, indicating that consumers may not have a say in how their data is used.