Data Privacy Concerns Rise Within Connected-Car Industry

Cameron Aubernon
by Cameron Aubernon
data privacy concerns rise within connected car industry

As more vehicles come with infotainment systems mounted in the dashboard console, consumers are beginning to face the issue of losing privacy behind the driver’s seat.

The Detroit News reports data from a vehicle so equipped is collected every time the ignition is turned, from where one fills up their tank and stomach, to how fast one drives and their preference for doing so. While the data goes back to the automaker in question, there are few security measures as to who all is allowed to view — and use — the data for their own needs. Strategy Analytics associate director Roger Lanctot explains:

(Your car’s) presumably tracking you all the time. Somewhere along the way we need to have a better understanding because right now, the reason why it feels like the Wild West is that it’s so open. You’re basically letting the carmaker gather whatever data it wants and share it with whoever, including marketing partners and law enforcement.

His concerns were voiced during the keynote speech before attendees of this year’s Telematics Detroit 2014 in Novi, Mich. as part of a day devoted to privacy and security with automotive infotainment and diagnostics technology. Though the focus comes in light of knowledge of the National Security Agency’s overreaching hand upon U.S. citizens, a survey found some of the attendees weren’t too concerned over what their car tells anyone else. Others, however, were more worried about their car pulling a GLaDOS on the highway in traffic.

Lanctot believes consumers will have “a privacy button” in their vehicles down the road, which would at the very least provide transparency on who exactly sees the information in any given vehicle. The feature would, in turn, empower the consumer with control on their information and instill trust with the automaker at the other end of the signal.

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6 of 17 comments
  • Fatalexception04 Fatalexception04 on Jun 06, 2014

    Between this and facebook now activating the microphone on your phone to listen in we are losing all of our privacy. What's the alternative in the future? Buy older cars that have no nannies or tracking devices? You can't turn to government for help or regulation. They are the worst perpetrators of our invasion of privacy.

    • See 2 previous
    • Scwmcan Scwmcan on Jun 06, 2014

      Well you can always uninstall the Facebook app from your phone, you don't have to be connected all the time, if you choose to be connected you are giving permission to have your privacy compromised. You need to be aware of what being connected costs you and disable anything that you are incomparable with ( please note I am aware that some things are monitored anyway, but you always have the option to disconnect from the information highway, one way or another)

  • Wmba Wmba on Jun 06, 2014

    How is the data transmitted? By cell or satellite? I don't know, which is why I ask.

    • Schmitt trigger Schmitt trigger on Jun 06, 2014

      I don't know either but in terms of absolute geographical coverage, satellites (in plural) would be the optimal solution. Having said that, satellite transmissions can be impaired during heavy weather conditions. So cell towers have an advantage there. Eventually, the system that will predominate is the one with the lowest operating cost. Once that these transmissions are standardized, it will be a matter of time before someone markets a jammer. Likewise, it will be a matter of time somebody else makes a jammer sniffer, such that police can stop you for interfering with matters of National Security.

  • Brandon What is a "city crossover"?
  • Tassos What was the last time we had any good news from Ford? (or GM for that matter?)The last one was probably when Alan Mulally was CEO. Were you even born back then?Fields was a total disaster, then they go hire this clown from Toyota's PR department, the current Ford CEO, Fart-ley or something.He claims to be an auto enthusiast too (unlike Mary Barra who is even worse, but of course always forgiven, as she is the proud owner of a set of female genitals.
  • Tassos I know some would want to own a collectible Mustang. (sure as hell not me. This crappy 'secretary's car' (that was exactly its intended buying demo) was as sophisticated (transl. : CRUDE) as the FLintstone's mobile. Solid Real Axle? Are you effing kidding me?There is a huge number of these around, so they are neither expensive nor valuable.WHen it came out, it was $2,000 or so new. A colleague bought a recent one with the stupid Ecoboost which also promised good fuel economy. He drives a hard bargain and spends time shopping and I remember he paid $37k ( the fool only bought domestic crap, but luckily he is good with his hands and can fix lots of stuff on them).He told me that the alleged fuel economy is obtained only if you drive it like a VERY old lady. WHich defeats the purpose, of course, you might as well buy a used Toyota Yaris (not even a Corolla).
  • MRF 95 T-Bird Back when the Corolla consisted of a wide range of body styles. This wagon, both four door and two door sedans, a shooting brake like three door hatch as well as a sports coupe hatchback. All of which were on the popular cars on the road where I resided.
  • Wjtinfwb Jeez... I've got 3 Ford's and have been a defender due to my overall good experiences but this is getting hard to defend. Thinking the product durability testing that used to take months to rack up 100k miles or more is being replaced with computer simulations that just aren't causing these real-world issues to pop up. More time at the proving ground please...