A recent study conducted by the Mozilla Foundation has revealed that cars, despite being overlooked, are a major privacy concern and the most egregious violators in this regard. The study examined 25 car brands and discovered that each one of them collected excessive personal information from users. Furthermore, a staggering 84 percent of these brands sold the collected data. To compound the issue, a significant 92 percent of car brands offered users minimal control over their own data, preventing them from deleting it from the company server if desired.
The Mozilla Foundation, the company behind the open-source Firefox web browser, has released several reports in the “Privacy not included” series that highlight privacy issues in various categories of products and services. For this series, it selected 25 brands, including Mercedes-Benz, Cadillac, Audi, Ford, Volkswagen, Toyota, Hyundai, Fiat, Nissan and others.
In its report, the Mozilla Foundation began by calling modern cars a “privacy nightmare” and added, “All 25 car brands we studied earned the *Privacy Not Included warning label, making cars the official worst privacy product we’ve ever rated.”
Privacy is a concern in modern cars
The report highlights that they all collect different touch points by combining more information than necessary. It stated: “They may collect personal information about how you interact with your car, the connected services you use in your car, the in-car app (which provides a gateway to your phone data), and may collect even more information about you from third-party sources such as Sirius XM or Google Maps “.
Shockingly, it even collects information about users’ sex life (both Nissan and Kia were found to have collected information about this), where the user drives, the songs played in the car, and more. The report states that companies use this information to invent even more data through “inferences” about the user, such as intelligence, abilities and interests.
The report also noted that 84 percent of brands reviewed were found to be sharing users’ personal data with service providers, data brokers and other companies with little or no data. 76 percent of them say they can sell user data.
Finally, 92 percent of brands, or all but two brands, Renault and Dacia, do not allow drivers to remove their personal data from the servers if they so choose.