Modern cars are the biggest threat to your privacy. This is according to the latest analysis conducted by the Mozilla Foundation on cars from 25 brands, including Tesla, Nissan, Renault, Toyota and Volkswagen. A study that produced frightening data because some cars can even collect information about users’ sexual activity or immigration status..

Mozilla spent more than 600 hours studying these brands’ practices regarding recording and manipulating sensitive information, leading to alarming findings. So much so that experts say modern cars are a “privacy nightmare”, worse than meditation and mental health apps.

In fact, the Foundation indicated that it could not even verify whether any of the automakers it analyzed met its minimum safety standards. We’re talking about a set of criteria that experts consider important for any product connected to the Internet; from encrypting data in transit and at rest to security updates and using strong passwords for remote authentication, among others.

But what makes modern cars an absolute privacy nightmare is their ability to use its sensors, cameras and other systems to collect unusual amounts of personal information. From the way you interact with the car (like analyzing your routes and the speed at which you’re driving), to data coming from connected services, third-party sources, and even each manufacturer’s own mobile apps.

Modern cars threaten your privacy and even your sex life is unsafe

This is how information collected by your vehicle travels and ends up in the hands of third parties. Photo: Mozilla Foundation.

Mozilla’s research focused on 25 car brands, some of which are owned by the same parent company. These were Tesla, Dacia, Renault, BMW, Chrysler, Mercedes-Benz, Jeep, Cadillac, Lincoln, Acura, GMC, Buick, Subaru, Volkswagen, Ford, Fiat, Audi, Toyota, Honda, Dodge, Lexus, Chevrolet, Kia. Hyundai and Nissan.

Tesla has the worst overall rating. Elon Musk’s company included all the sensitive alarm systems included in the analysis criteria for modern cars, but what really earned it infamy was the inclusion of “untrustworthy AI.” In fact, it was the only brand to receive such a slap on the wrist. Because? Here’s how Mozilla explained it:

“[…] “The brand’s AI-powered Autopilot system has been linked to 17 deaths and 736 accidents and is currently the subject of multiple government investigations.”

However, no matter how contradictory it may seem, The automaker that violates the privacy of its vehicle users the worst is Nissan.. That’s because, as the Mozilla Foundation discovered in the brand’s privacy notices, its cars may collect and transmit “sexual activity information, genetic information and health diagnostics,” among other types of sensitive data, for security and targeted marketing purposes. And they may even sell the conclusions drawn from this information to third parties, including for advertising purposes.

The analysis of the privacy concerns of the modern cars studied is indeed extensive. At this link you can read each of them and even order stamps based on the degree of results obtained.

Even more disturbing details

Photo by John Cameron on Unsplash

The Mozilla Foundation claims that modern cars have been analyzed They collect much more information than is necessary for their work.. But the story doesn’t end there.

  • Of the 25 companies analyzed, 84% share their users’ personal information with service providers and brokers data.
  • 76% violate privacy by selling collected information to third parties.
  • 56% may share their user data with law enforcement and governments. But the worst thing is that they do this even at an unofficial request, and not necessarily by a court decision.
  • 52% can use car sensors to collect everything that happens around them. From weather and road conditions to other unspecified data.
  • Only two of the modern car brands studied, Dacia and Renault, offer an important privacy option: users can request that their data be deleted. In other words, 92% of automakers do not provide drivers with control over their personal information.

As we delve deeper into the Mozilla Foundation’s findings, these feelings become increasingly alarming. Now, if you’re wondering how modern car manufacturers can violate your privacy with such impunity, the answer is simple. They take advantage of the vagueness of the terms included in their data collection and use policies.. Or they use legal maneuvers to hide how much information they record.

“The use of broad language is a classic tool that companies use to leave open the possibility of collecting more data than specified in their policies. This makes it almost impossible to know all the information that is being collected about you.”

Mozilla Foundation.

Modern cars are technological marvels, but unfortunately, they also pose a threat to the privacy of their users. Is it possible to fix this situation? It seems difficult to be honest. However, the Mozilla Foundation has launched a petition that the public can sign asking automakers to stop their bulk data collection programs. No doubt this sounds a little utopian, but at least it is a first step.

Source: Hiper Textual

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I'm Blaine Morgan, an experienced journalist and writer with over 8 years of experience in the tech industry. My expertise lies in writing about technology news and trends, covering everything from cutting-edge gadgets to emerging software developments. I've written for several leading publications including Gadget Onus where I am an author.


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