Your Auto, Privacy & Security — Mozilla’s Privacy Not Included Project

Most newer autos have computer systems that communicate with those driving the vehicle. It’s a convenience that helps the driver with a number of things.

The Mozilla Privacy Not Included project says it not only helps the driver, but it helps the auto manufacturer and whoever that manufacturer decides to share that information with.

Mozilla’s project strongly criticized 25 auto makers for violating the privacy and security of the vehicle owner. These are the manufacturers named in the project’s conclusions and they’re ranked in the order of the company’s concern about them (the top of the list is the least concerns and the bottom, the most):

  • BMW
  • Renault
  • Subaru
  • Fiat
  • Jeep
  • Chrysler
  • Volkswagen
  • Toyota
  • Lexus
  • Ford
  • Audi
  • Mercedes-Benz
  • Honda
  • Lincoln
  • Acura
  • Kia
  • GMC
  • Chevrolet
  • Hyundai
  • Nissan
  • Tesla

Here’s what the Mozilla says the auto manufacturers are collecting:

  • Health and genetic information
  • Race information
  • Immigration status
  • Weight
  • Facial expressions
  • The location of the vehicle
  • Driving speed
  • Multimedia content
  • And — yes — even sexual activity

This is how the data is collected:

  • Mobile apps
  • Dealerships
  • Company websites
  • Vehicle telematics
  • Sensors connected to the vehicle
  • Cameras connected to the vehicle
  • Microphones connected to the vehicle
  • Phones connected to the vehicle

Mozilla also ranked the companies on how they use the data, the controls used in using it, the track record of the company and the security provided by the company.

It found Renault and Dacia — two European companies — as the best of the worst. Both are required to be in line with the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

The worst of the worst — Mozilla says — is Tesla and Nissan. The finger points at them for being the “creepiest” for gathering and releasing data on the sexual activity that happens in those vehicles.

Much of the supposed consumer knowledge of the data gathered happens when the vehicle is purchased. It’s buried in the dozens of pages of info given to a consumer when they buy from a car lot.

Private purchases have no such rules but the auto manufacturers say it’s up to the consumer to inform anyone getting in the vehicle that any info found about them might be shared with the manufacturer.

That is if the owner of the vehicle knows information is being collected and — in many cases — most of us don’t.

The policies of over half the manufacturers say it can share information collected with law enforcement and with other government agencies. Here’s more:

  • 76% of manufacturers say they sell the harvested personal data
  • 84% say they share that data with service providers

Here’s another problem consumers face. If they chose to not buy an app connected with the vehicle, or the connected services provided for that vehicle, it might not run.

“Consumers have almost zero control and options in regard to privacy, other than simply buying an older model. Regulators and policy makers are behind on this front,” Mozilla noted. “We’re worried about the amount and the sensitivity of the information car companies collect about you. Based on their track records alone, we don’t trust them to keep it safe. And we don’t think a lot of the ways that your information is being shared or sold benefits drivers or anyone besides the businesses who exist to make money off of your data.”

The company says this is just the beginning and it is concerned about the new sensor technology. If not controlled by regulators, it can assist manufacturers in creating, collecting, combining and selling even more information about you.

Source link: Security Week —

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