Mozilla Says All Car Brands Suck at Privacy

Jen Caltrider, Misha Rykov, and Zoë MacDonald, of Mozilla:

Car makers have been bragging about their cars being “computers on wheels” for years to promote their advanced features. However, the conversation about what driving a computer means for its occupants’ privacy hasn’t really caught up. While we worried that our doorbells and watches that connect to the internet might be spying on us, car brands quietly entered the data business by turning their vehicles into powerful data-gobbling machines. Machines that, because of their all those brag-worthy bells and whistles, have an unmatched power to watch, listen, and collect information about what you do and where you go in your car.

All 25 car brands we researched earned our *Privacy Not Included warning label — making cars the official worst category of products for privacy that we have ever reviewed.

General Motors announced earlier this year that its cars will no longer support CarPlay. The objective, according to Brian Sozzi of Yahoo Finance, is that it is “aiming to collect more of its own data to not only better understand drivers, but to pad its longer-term profit margins“. According to Mozilla’s researchers, GM’s major brands — including Chevrolet and GMC — are among the worst of this very bad bunch.

Mozilla has supplementary articles about how automakers collect and use personal data, and they are worth a read. It is entirely possible these privacy policies reflect an overly broad approach, that cars do not actually collect vast amounts of personal information, and that the data brokers who have partnered with automakers are marketing themselves more ambitiously than they are able to deliver. But is that better? Automakers either collect vast amounts of private information which they share with data brokers and use for targeted advertising efforts, or they are lying and only wish they were collecting and sharing vast amounts of private information.