Nissan Leaf Owner Exposes CarWings Privacy Issue

Edward Niedermeyer
by Edward Niedermeyer

Since Nissan’s PR and communication folks are probably having a busy morning anyway, we thought we’d bring this video to their attention. According to this apparently quite tech-savvy Leaf owner, the Leaf’s CarWings system will automatically send your location data to any third-party RSS feed you sign up for. As he puts it in the video

“There’s a lot of personal data there. I’m not sure if you really want Fox News to know exactly where you’re at, how fast you’re driving, that kind of thing… when you read those RSS feeds in your car, you might want to think twice about hitting that button”

Why would signing up for an RSS feed require that constantly-updated locational data be sent to the RSS provider? The video’s maker assumes the data is for “CarWings internal use” and yet he shows that it gets sent to third parties. We know GM monitors Chevy Volt user data anonymously through Onstar, but one assumes that this kind of data is fairly well protected from third parties. In the case of the Leaf, that may not be the case. We’d sure like to know if this is true, and why…

[UPDATE: Nissan tells us: “Owners have to opt in or agree to share their data every time they sign in. If they don’t, then they pass on the benefit as well. They will however, lose any remote control or data logging capability but the choice is in the hand of the driver every time.”]

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4 of 6 comments
  • Sitting@home Sitting@home on Jun 13, 2011

    The guy listens to MacRumors in his leaf; he must love running out of juice in just about everything he owns.

  • SCE to AUX SCE to AUX on Jun 13, 2011

    It's OBD-III by proxy.... Better yet, Nissan should just put a credit card swipe in there, and then you can pay for your Leaf charge from the comfort of your own car.

  • Ciddyguy Ciddyguy on Jun 14, 2011

    I ACTUALLY saw a Leaf today, backed into a parking stall in a strip mall right outside my work campus coming home today.

  • Tikki50 Tikki50 on Jun 14, 2011

    the reply is even worse. so if i opt out I have to keep doing it until at some point, I forget, what a joke! This has absolute fail all over it. Nice job Nissan, are you goinig to cover all my costs when my privacy is breached, I doubt it.