‘Privacy nightmare’: Your car collecting a lot of information about you, Womans credit score dropped hard braking and speeding, data sold

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Temeika Clay couldn’t understand why her car insurance premium shot up 80 percent.

The Henry County, Georgia, resident did some digging and obtained the LexisNexis credit report for her Chevy Camaro. The credit report revealed GM had collected data about her driving tendencies and made the information available to insurance companies.

“Never did I imagine [my car] would be spying on [me] and sending information about [my] driving habits. That’s just unbelievable,” Clay told WSB-TV in Atlanta.

Clay’s LexisNexis documents revealed her vehicle’s OnStar system tracked her acceleration, high speed, and hard brake events. The documents revealed GM provided the information to data brokers, who then passed it along to insurance companies. A GM spokesperson told WSB OnStar Smart Driver data is no longer being shared with LexisNexis or data analytics company Versick.

“There are a lot of ways cars collect our data now, and it’s nuts. We don’t even think about it,” said Jen Caltrider, director of the Privacy Not Included project at Mozilla. “Cars are an absolute privacy nightmare and it kind of snuck up on all of us.”

Caltrider and her researchers reviewed 25 car brands in 2023 and found every one collected “more personal data than necessary and uses that information for a reason other than to operate your vehicle and manage their relationship with you.”Caltrider’s team listed dozens of categories car makers can collect about you, including mobile device locations, financial account numbers, billing information, IP address, physical characteristics, and even information about your sexual orientation and sexual activity.

“The amount of data the car companies said they collect really had our eyes popping,” Caltrider said. “When we started looking into it, we realized cars collect way more data than they need to collect to get you from point A to point B safely.”

According to Caltrider’s research, 84 percent of the car brands they researched “share or sell your data.” Caltrider’s team also found car makers can collect voice recordings, route history, biometric information, vehicle speed, use of the accelerator, and information about braking habits.

“Asking consumers to try and find and read the privacy documentation, I can tell you from experience as a privacy researcher, it was nearly impossible,” Caltrider said. “Knowing when your car is transmitting data and having a way to shut that down could void your car’s warranty, so there aren’t a lot of great options for consumers. That’s why I think we’re way past time for a strong consumer federal privacy law.”


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h/t Coastie Patriot

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