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Most Major Carmakers Admit They Sell, Share Your Personal Data, Study Finds



Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons
A data privacy analysis of modern vehicles released Wednesday by the Mozilla Foundation found that most major car manufacturers admit they may be selling your personal data, or giving it to the government without a court order.
The problem is widespread across all modern makes and models with digital features, according to the Mozilla Foundation.
Among two dozen carmakers, researchers said that Chrysler, and their parent company FCA, are the worst of the worst when it comes to data privacy.
Before even getting to their policies, researchers said Chrysler and FCA’s U.S. privacy policy website, which also covers Jeep Dodge, Ram, and Fiat, features “tiny font, the most frustrating navigation, no way to search through the privacy policy for keywords, no way to download the full privacy policy to keep a record of it.”
Their policies state they can collect an owner’s personal information from their Chrysler, the Chrysler app, UConnect connected services, and even third-party sources like data brokers, social media and car dealers, then sell it or share it.
Along with data about the performance of the vehicle, the types of information that can be collected include precise location, driver’s license data, biometric data, browsing history and search history.
And once the company has the user’s data, there is nothing in the policy that states a user can have it deleted, unless they live in a place with legal protections, such as California or Europe.
Even in California, under the California Consumer Privacy Act, or CCPA, Chrysler only says, “We do not sell or share personal information or sensitive personal information about California consumers who we know are younger than 16 years old.”
Many carmakers also included language that allows them to use the data they collect to create detailed consumer psychological profiles, in order to market more products to users.
And consumers can’t be sure all that data is kept safe by the companies. In 2015, Chrysler/FCA became the first car company subject to a recall for a cybersecurity threat, after hackers were able to take remote control of a Jeep Cherokee through its entertainment system.
The results are similar across all the biggest car manufacturers.
“Imagine a world where your car ride has avoided traffic, avoided road hazards, eliminates accidents, while providing optimal personal entertainment and work productivity? This world is only possible with the fuel of data,” said AI adviser and tech executive Marva Bailer, author of “Be Unexpected: Resetting Routines to Revolutionize the Future of Work.”
Bailer said that “97% of people do not read privacy statements.” Even if they did, it isn’t clear how they would be able to opt out without buying an older, pre-digital car, however.
“Consumers need to balance convenience and personalized experience for privacy,” Bailer said.
“It is estimated [that] by 2050 there will be over 100 trillion connected devices. To bring safety, personalized experience, autonomous driving, autonomous toll systems, fuel alternatives, charging alternatives, data is required from driver behavior, equipment sensors, weather, event information, public safety, and more,” Bailer said. “The world is moving forward, and collective action is needed for real time feedback, personalization, and safety.”
TMX contributed to this article.