Print 17 comment(s) - last by elkinm.. on Jan 10 at 11:18 AM

Drivers are not allowed to request that their data be deleted

Privacy is a huge topic today due to the number of location tracking services available on nearly every gadget we own, and especially after revelations about the U.S. National Security Agency's (NSA) surveillance programs. Now, a new government report revealed that privacy in our vehicles may be another concern. 

According to The Detroit News, the Government Accountability Office discovered that major automakers have separate policies regarding the amount of data they collect and how long they keep it. The government report was released Monday, and covered Detroit’s Big Three automakers, Toyota Motor Corp., Honda Motor Co. and Nissan Motor Co.

Vehicles today are loaded with technology that tracks driver locations in order to help them find a destination, navigate traffic, find the closest gas station, etc. While this is generally understood by drivers, the government report revealed that the major automakers not only carry different policies on how much data they collect and how long it's retained, but that they also don't allow drivers to request that their data be deleted. 


The report didn't reveal individual policies by automaker, but the good news is that none of them were selling personal data of owners. However, privacy advocates still worry that drivers are not aware of the risks, and that this data could eventually be marketed to individuals and lead to invasion of privacy.  

None of the automakers revealed how long they keep data in the report, but separately, reports state anywhere from 24 hours to seven years. One company (which wasn't identified in The Detroit News report) denied collecting any data at all. 

“Details of the industry’s strict privacy policies are traditionally included in our sales and service agreements,” said the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers spokeswoman Gloria Bergquist. The Alliance represents Detroit’s Big Three automakers, Toyota, Volkswagen AG and others. “That way, we ensure our customers have the opportunity to familiarize themselves with these strict privacy policies.”

The government report suggested that automakers keep location data safe by de-identifying it, only keep location data as long as they need and delete the data after a certain amount of time.

The report was requested by Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.), who said he plans to reintroduce his location privacy legislation sometime in 2014. 

Source: The Detroit News

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Why are they collecting this AT ALL?
By DaveLessnau on 1/8/2014 1:38:42 PM , Rating: 2
I guess I'm just silly. But, why are the automakers collecting this data at all? I can see doing this if the owner calls into some kind of navigation service through the car company or something. But, if someone is just using the navigation system on the car, why is that data being sent off to the the auto makers? We've got a fairly new car, but it doesn't have navigation. If you have navigation on your car, do you have to (get to?) sign some kind of documents acknowledging that your location is being monitored by the auto manufacturer?

RE: Why are they collecting this AT ALL?
By Murloc on 1/8/2014 1:53:27 PM , Rating: 2
that's silly, no data is being sent off. There's no way to do it either unless you have in-car 3G which is a rarity.

It's simply the navigation system that keeps the data, there are some functionalities that can make use of this.

Also data can be kept for black box purposes.

I don't think most navigators keep the data though, I mean why would you put memory in it for no reason?

Also are we sure we aren't also talking about "recent destinations" or stuff like that? That's collected data, but it's useful.

By euclidean on 1/8/2014 2:14:51 PM , Rating: 2
I wonder though, as anyone who has the navigation equipment and also pays for XM/Sirius radio, for example, can get live traffic updates by communicating through those signals.

Outside of a 3G/wifi connection, does the XM/Sirius signal capture and send any information?

Also, like the NissanConnect system, you can communicate to your car for POIs and Directions from Google - in fact, you can send a specific route from your PC to the car.

Does any of that provide the data to the auto-maker?

However, I do agree - outside of those services, they would have to download that data from your car when you have it in for service - if you never take it to the Dealer, then there isn't (or shouldn't be) a way to gather it, other than locally.

RE: Why are they collecting this AT ALL?
By Argon18 on 1/8/2014 2:37:44 PM , Rating: 3
"that's silly, no data is being sent off. There's no way to do it either unless you have in-car 3G which is a rarity."

Huh? You don't keep up with this stuff do you. Ever heard of GM's OnStar service? Or any of its competitors? It is constantly collecting and streaming data. In fact, they can even record voice by remotely enabling the in-car microphone, without you even realizing it. Don't believe me? It's been used in court already in several criminal cases. Police working with OnStar to collect location data and voice recordings of suspects.

By gamerk2 on 1/8/2014 3:11:05 PM , Rating: 2
Yep, how else does OnStar tell emergency personnel where you are when you get into a car crash? Is anyone shocked they have your location data ready to go?

Hence why we need government standard, so we know what is being recorded, and how long its stored, rather then leaving it up to the individual automaker.

RE: Why are they collecting this AT ALL?
By ssnova703 on 1/8/2014 3:15:46 PM , Rating: 2
that's silly, no data is being sent off. There's no way to do it either unless you have in-car 3G which is a rarity. It's simply the navigation system that keeps the data, there are some functionalities that can make use of this. Also data can be kept for black box purposes.

That's rather naive and ignorant to believe. Did you know that most laptops sold since 2003 have 3G built in and discretely send data and communicate without our consent? Before you say, "that's tinfoil talk!"

Intel explains it here:

Yes, it's if you have vPro, but I've ordered equipment without it and low and behold it's already hardwired in there, just "unlocked" with my consent via driver, though IT personnel knows there are higher authorities to override this.

AMD has it too, forgot the name off hand, but it's naive to think that they would not store and profile all the data.

RE: Why are they collecting this AT ALL?
By hughlle on 1/8/2014 4:01:48 PM , Rating: 2
Since when did "most laptops sold" use vpro? or that "most laptops" have 3g technology secretly installed.

Pasting a link to a video of intel showing off their feature is in no way proof of it in any way being a mainstream thing. So please, do offer us a link that actually demonstrates your absurd claim.

Please do give us a list of all these laptops with secret 3g technology.

I'd also love to kow why, given the type of data they'd be getting, why they would go to such an effort to secretly spy on you through hardware, when they could just write a few lines of code that would do the same thing the moment you hook up to the internet? Let me guess, you recently read the NSA hardware interception stories? :D

Please, do share some links though. Oh, silly me, how daft of me to ask for evidence upon a wild statement being thrown out there.

RE: Why are they collecting this AT ALL?
By ssnova703 on 1/8/2014 6:31:34 PM , Rating: 2
Lenovo Thinkpad pad line, Dell Latitude series, Dell Precision series, Hp elitebook series, just to name a few, virtually every "business" oriented laptop. You probably didn't even look at the video.

Since when have you not heard of it? Doesn't matter, IT deployment works with this stuff all the time, lay people like to fool themselves into believing it doesn't exist so they can sleep better, whatever, believe what you want. But yes, 3G is implemented onto virtually all business laptops, that is public(though not well known), would it be farfetched to believe that they didn't bother to deploy it on non-pro, of course not, I've enabled it on non-vpro via drivers. Again, I won't argue with someone who's decided they don't want to believe no matter what hard evidence is seen or known. You can look it up for yourself that Dell, HP, and Lenovo proudly feature/announce Vpro in their product lineups, but again, I also mention thta it's already hardwired on some non vpro hardware(no, I didn't test every single maker in the world but it was on some Dell's I used.)

By ssnova703 on 1/8/2014 6:35:40 PM , Rating: 2
Ok fine, I will post, as you requested, evidence that Dell, Lenovo, and HP use it in their products, this is ridiculous, it's common knowledge.

I won't waste anymore time arguing though.

By hughlle on 1/9/2014 6:38:48 AM , Rating: 1
Most laptops sold suddenly becomes most business laptops sold.

You're changing your stance awfully quick.

I have no problem bleiving, but I'm still to see you post any proof showing "most laptops sold since 2003" are doing this. That's what I asked for, that's what you continue to avoid responding to.

By flatrock on 1/9/2014 1:37:15 PM , Rating: 2
This is exactly tinfoil talk where a little knowledge and a whole lot of unreasonable assumptions are used to justify a ridicules theory.

Intel does sell vpro enabled 3G network cards, but 3G networking isn't part of every vpro product. One good hint would be that it wouldn't work particularly well without an antenna, and 3G frequencies are significantly different than wifi frequencies so they aren't using the wifi antenna in your laptop.

I would also hate to see Intel's wireless bill if they had 3G tech in everyone's computer and were using it to log everything you did.

By NellyFromMA on 1/9/2014 10:44:48 AM , Rating: 2
If you've ever updated a modern built-in GPS, you might notice you can do so with a wifi-enabled device. And its 50/50 whether that Wi-Fi enabled device happens to also be your 3g/4g enabled device. Some even ask for internet access to download the latest update vs providing it a static file.

Updating your GPS is a usual practice if you don't like being told to take a right onto a closed bridge or cliff.

The Future
By Ammohunt on 1/8/2014 1:37:26 PM , Rating: 2
The report didn't reveal individual policies by automaker, but the good news is that none of them were selling personal data of owners.

Yet...Imagine the value to advertisers if driving by a store popped up an advertisement on a cars HUD. I need to buy that 60ies Chevelle i always wanted....

RE: The Future
By eBob on 1/8/2014 3:20:54 PM , Rating: 2
Don't forget to buy an On-Star FMV rearview mirror for that Chevelle.

RE: The Future
By MrBlastman on 1/8/2014 4:43:30 PM , Rating: 2
Not a bad idea. I'm actually glad my current cars do not have any of these modern "frills" in them.

RE: The Future
By Dr of crap on 1/9/2014 12:25:31 PM , Rating: 2
Just wait until all cars are connected and talking with one another.

For me as well, I'm glad I don't have those "modern frills".

IF I need to make a call, I can use my cell phone, and route it thought the radio with Bluetooth, for all those that think you shouldn't call and drive.

OnStar and all its cousins - no thank you.

By elkinm on 1/10/2014 11:18:50 AM , Rating: 2
I would love this on my car as long as I can access the data. Really I want to be the only one with access to it.

Why, some time ago I got a ticket going 55 in a 35, in traffic, I was going 30 tops.
Another friend had the same result in almost the same place.
Then another one got a ticket for going 90 in a 55 where he was going no more than 50 (traffic) further more the cop caught the speeding car (if there was one) on a different branch and caught my friend of an on-ramp.

In each case there was nothing beyond a ticket and 90-day supervision which screams fraud to me as at least 90 in a 55 should be a Major offense.

In all of these cases, with GPS or speed data I can simply say no I was not there or I was not going anywhere close to that fast.

I want location and speed logging on my car, as long as I have direct access to it, to put a stop to these fraudulent tickets.

“And I don't know why [Apple is] acting like it’s superior. I don't even get it. What are they trying to say?” -- Bill Gates on the Mac ads

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