Connected Cars - What Does Your Car Know About You?

Today’s connected cars have extraordinary capabilities, packed with a range of buttons, switches and apps which are driven by data. But have you ever wondered how much your car knows about you?  A brand new report by Confused.com can reveal which car manufacturers know the most about you, with the brand leader of intelligence Tesla taking the top spot.

Taking fifteen of the top car manufacturers across the globe, the experts have delved into their privacy policies to reveal which one tells us the most about the data they collect. 

Here are the results:

Being one of the most intelligent cars on the market today, Tesla coming first place is no surprise, as their personalised driving experience needs copious amounts of data to function at full capacity. Scoring a 20 out of 28, Tesla is a leader in innovation and their clever cars even send alerts when the driver is not paying attention during self-driving mode. 

Following close second is Audi, with a score of 19 out of 20, the data absorbed from the infotainment system in an Audi scored second highest in the whole study. Audi drivers will be asked to download the myAudi App, allowing improved route guidance with the latest traffic information from the Internet, read aloud function for Twitter messages, online news, and emails and the charging status if in an e-Tron.

In most technology-driven vehicles, personal details such as name, phone number and address are the most common data points taken by a manufacturer. However, as manufacturers are constantly improving their vehicle tech, more driver data is becoming available. The study also reveals:

  •     Where your data is the safest
  •     Connectivity costs
  •     Whether connected cars make you drive safer

For Dacia drivers, the manufacturer comes in last for the amount of data listed in its privacy policy, with a low score of five out of 28. As the experts scored the brands on 28 different data points commonly collected on drivers, Dacia scored a zero in the infotainment, video and images and emissions categories.

Chris Clark an automotive software security expert at Synopsis  commented on how drivers can make sure their data is safe. “The first thing would be removing all of your Bluetooth data.  The next thing that you can do, which is probably the most pervasive and most available to consumers of today, is to take the vehicle to the dealership and have them reflash the entire vehicle. Because:

1. It will update the vehicle to the latest software that's available to them. This helps to keep the car secure but also updates things like maps to get safer navigation settings.

2. Also ensure that all the information about driver habits, location, paired devices, etc. is removed from the vehicle because it’s been electronically updated. That's the best thing consumers who are really concerned about their personally identifiable information can do.

“Unfortunately, the way that the vehicle systems are designed you lose a lot of the capabilities that you typically would buy that new car for if you don’t connect your phone.  New car purchases don't tend to be about how much horsepower, how the vehicle handles, how comfortable the vehicle is anymore. It's more about the features the vehicle brings e.g. lane detection, safety, security, works with a smartphone. So in terms of disabling or not utilising some features in the vehicle, I wouldn't necessarily recommend it. It's more about being cautious of where that information may go and when you sell the vehicle, you remove the data.” 

If you want to know more about how your personal data is used according to the data protection regulation, all manufacturers will have a data protection information page. 

Confused.com

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