Automakers Vow to Protect Drivers from Data-Spying

atcsurreyIf you’re pursuing an auto career, you know that modern vehicles are fully equipped with technology that allows the driver to stream music directly from their phone, make hands-free calls, and get step-by-step navigation to their destination. However, the technology that drivers have grown to know, love, and completely rely on, also has the ability to track and record their every move, and the moves of their vehicle.

The question on many drivers’ minds is: can these innovative tech features eventually pose a threat to our privacy, safety and well-being? Continue reading to find out everything you need to know about data-tracking and what automakers are saying about consumer privacy.

There’s a “Black Box” in Your Car and It’s Taking Notes

What would you do if you were told that almost every move you make in your new car is being monitored? Would you believe it? Well, you should, because auto manufacturers have been installing event data recorders (EDRs) in 96% of all new cars since 2013.

An EDR is exactly what it sounds like—a tracker. Anyone with auto technician training can explain that it’s like a witness of sorts—it’s always on-board with you, and takes note of your seat belt use, speed, steering, braking habits, and much more.

The Price of Your Information

Once you’ve let that information sink in, you should probably know that the EDR is the one part of that brand new car that you don’t necessarily own! That’s right—as you might have guessed, entities such as insurance companies, lawyers and police officers could probably benefit from the information that’s tracked on these “black boxes” and sadly, they can gain access to it without a court order. This information can also be sold to advertisers without your permission, so drivers can soon expect to see personalized ads popping up on their screens, customized to where they’ve been and what they’ve searched for while in their vehicles.

Your Navigation is Keeping Tabs on You

If you’re concerned that your “black box” isn’t accumulating enough data on the details of your drive to work—don’t worry, your GPS has you covered. While EDRs are keeping track of your driving habits, your on-board navigation system is monitoring your whereabouts. Any recent graduate of a mechanic college knows that if you’ve got a GPS system in your car, it is most likely recording where you are at all times, and the places you frequent regularly.

V2V Technology: Friend or Foe?

When you consider the impending launch of vehicle-to-vehicle technology and its ability to communicate with other vehicles and gain information that will help avoid collisions—you might think that it’s a no-brainer for improving road safety. However, many concerned consumers have voiced criticisms about how vulnerable this technology—paired with existing data trackers—may be to hackers. How easy will it be for criminals to gain control over drivers’ data and navigation systems?

Automakers Agree to Enforce Privacy Policy

In response to critics, auto manufacturers including GM and Toyota, have set out to implement a policy that calls for a higher level of security over the information that’s collected by your vehicle. Because of the potential threat of hackers, and the dangers associated with their ability to access vehicle information, automakers have found a need for increased security over private information.

John Bozella, CEO of Global Automakers has voiced his concerns, stating: “As modern cars not only share the road but will in the not-too-distant future communicate with one another, vigilance over the privacy of our customers and the security of vehicle systems is an imperative.”

Do you think the benefits that come from features like navigation systems are worth the privacy risks?

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