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Car companies are surveilling people and collecting private data

New cars collect personal data to a large extent. For this reason, they can be a nightmare for their owners - these are the conclusions reached by the non-profit organization Mozilla Foundation, which compiled a list of the 7 worst companies.

Mozilla is best known for its popular web browser. But a nonprofit organization called the Mozilla Foundation also analyzes how various products and services on the Internet use data. Against this background, new cars fare dismally, being the worst category ever tested.

Mozilla conducted its review on the American market. GDPR is in force in Europe, giving car owners certain basic rights regarding data protection and collection. Nevertheless, this does not always work in practice.

A lot of data falls into the hands of producers

Mozilla examined 25 car manufacturers for data. Unfortunately, none of them received a positive rating. According to company representatives, modern models collect a huge amount of sensitive personal data. These include: facial expression, weight, health data or addresses we went to.

"Many people think that the car is a private space where you can call the doctor, talk to your child on the way to school, cry after breaking up with your partner or go to places you don't want anyone to know about," he says. Jen Caltrider, head of the Privacy Unaccounted for project.

“It no longer corresponds to reality. In terms of privacy, all new cars are nightmares on wheels. They collect a huge amount of personal data," he adds.

“New Cars is the worst product category Mozilla has ever reviewed,” Caltrider says.

How do cars collect data?

They do this using sensors, microphones, cameras or a connected smartphone. Thanks to them, manufacturers can recreate an almost complete picture of the owner of a given car.

As if that were not enough, a lot of data is also collected using mobile applications and manufacturers' websites. It is worth remembering that automotive companies may sell or share this data with other entities.

Additionally, there is no way to check whether the data collected is always securely encrypted.

The worst producers

Mozilla has not issued a safety certificate to any car brand. However, she pointed out those that stand out in an even more negative way than others - at least on the American market.

  • Nissans collect data on the behavior, health diagnoses and sexual activity of the car owner
  • In its privacy policy, Kia also gives the right to monitor the car owner's sexual life
  • Volkswagen collects information about whether the driver wears seat belts and, for example, how he uses the brake. At the same time, it checks the age and gender of the car owner
  • Mercedes installs the TikTok application in its latest models, which has been criticized many times for protecting privacy and has even been banned by some organizations
  • Subaru - in cars of this brand, passengers are considered their users, so they automatically agree to the collection of data. It is up to the driver to inform them that the car collects so much private information
  • Tesla is underperforming in all categories rated by Mozilla. What's worse, if we turn off the Internet in a car of this brand, it may cause "serious damage" - says the manufacturer
  • Hyundai has the right to send data to the police and authorities even without a formal request

Data leaks are not an accident

It is important to realize that if the above information falls into the wrong hands, it could have disastrous consequences. What's worse, such a scenario is not impossible at all. After all, Volkswagen, Audi, Toyota, Tesla and Mercedes have "fallen victims" of data leaks for millions of users in recent years.

Most car manufacturers refrained from commenting on the results of Mozilla's analysis. In turn, companies that respond to the allegations claim that the car owner can always turn off "inconvenient" functions.

However, if he does this, he will not be able to use many important car systems, e.g. from a safety point of view.

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