By on June 6, 2014

2013 RAM 3500 Interior, uConnect 8.4, Picture Courtesy of Alex L. Dykes

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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17 Comments on “Data Privacy Concerns Rise Within Connected-Car Industry...”

  • avatar

    I know privacy is rapidly becoming a thing of the past, but everything I can do to insure some self determination when it comes to my personal privacy I will do. As long as my car can operate without being recorded or connected to the internet I will do whatever I can to thwart any attempts to compromise this once icon of personal freedom

  • avatar

    If you’re listening to that song, you probably deserve to have no privacy in life. You should be exposed and ridiculed for having horrible taste in music.

    Aside: What system is that shown? I’m going to guess Mazda. But it looks very annoying to use. I want dedicated hard buttons to bring up the different layers/sections on the screen.

    • 0 avatar

      “If you’re listening to that song, you probably deserve to have no privacy in life.”

      Thank you! That sounds much better coming from a young guy.

      • 0 avatar

        I remember that song being played on the school bus when it came out.

        Corey is being way too soft. LMFAO should be shot and killed for producing it.

        But, then again, how many 19 year olds listen to Tommy James and the Shondells (or know who they even are?)

    • 0 avatar


      And it’s the absolute BEST touchscreen infotainment on the market…including the German cars.

      • 0 avatar

        So we’re going to lose the dedicated hard buttons + screen, aren’t we? I’m going to end up not wanting any car made after 2012.

        • 0 avatar

          I describe this in my next submission…the Verano has a ton of buttons and I am happy for it. The only time I “have” to touch the screen is in the nav menu.

          I have also had a chance to use GMs other contemporary infotainment, and the one with the most buttons is best.

          • 0 avatar

            My car actually has hard buttons + directional dial + directional buttons + touch screen. I was a bit surprised they put in so many redundant choices.

  • avatar

    When did GLaDOS replace HAL for references of computers wanting to kill us?

  • avatar

    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.

    • 0 avatar

      There is only so much a free person can do to mitigate the situation. You can only conceivably “buy older” for so long. You could simply choose not to waste time on websites spying on you but inevitably they will all start doing it.

      • 0 avatar

        I’ll keep the older stuff as long as I can- it can go on.

        I have a friend who still drives her 1973 AMC Matador sedan. Her father bought it new, and after he passed, she’s kept it going. The odometer has rolled over quite a few times.

        If you keep spending money in large quantities, anything will last.

    • 0 avatar

      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)

  • avatar

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

    • 0 avatar
      schmitt trigger

      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.

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