New Technology in Cars Raises Privacy Concerns

For many years, privacy advocates have raised concerns regarding the GPS feature in motor vehicles.   The new concern pertaining to GPS technology is that the GPS may be leading marketing companies straight to the driver. There is a potential for privacy violations if this technology continues to go unregulated.  The mechanisms that are being incorporated into new cars, such as devices that assist with parking, monitor speed and location, and communicate with other cars, may also be compromising personal data.

Senator Charles Schrumer stated, “if your car has a GPS, it’s tracking your every move. It knows your favorite places to visit. It knows where you like to eat, where you shop, where you go on vacation . . . and alot of other things. That creates a trove of information about you that can easily be sold to marketers and companies looking to target someone like you.”  The Fair Trade Commission is currently working on ensuring privacy of Internet-connected devices as one of its top priorities because American consumers are buying more Internet-connected devices, such as cars that can transmit information about their location and driving habits. To read the full article on this issue, click here.

The Government Accountability Office (GAO) selected ten companies that provide new cars and services to the United States, as well as navigation devices and app developers, to focus on for an investigation. During an audit and review of the companies, all ten companies reported that they shared data with third parties to provide better services and that they will also supply data to law enforcement upon request. The GAO reported that consumers cannot request to have their information deleted and “without the ability to delete their location data, consumers are unable to prevent the use or retention of their data, should they wish to do so.”  For more on this topic, click here.