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Automakers Are Handing Over Personal Vehicle Information Without A Warrant

Key Takeaways

  • Automakers are not protecting personal vehicle information well, and some are giving it to law enforcement without a warrant.
  • Smart vehicles gather extensive data, such as recent destinations and emails, compromising privacy and safety.
  • Some domestic abusers are using that data to track and intimidate their partners, posing a significant threat.

Letters recently sent to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) allege automakers aren’t protecting your personal vehicle information and in some cases are giving it away without requiring a warrant. According to CarScoops, House Representative Debbie Dingell and US Senators Ron Wyden and Edward J. Markey broach two important topics in their concerns that your privacy isn’t being protected..

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The first letter from Representative Dingell to the FCC regards the way domestic abusers are using data to not only track but harass and intimidate their partners in a worrying trend that isn’t being controlled. The second letter is from two Senators who are concerned that information is being given to law enforcement by nine different automakers without a warrant and without informing the drivers of the vehicles that their information was requested.

Automaker Privacy Sheet
US Senators Wyden and Markey

Potential For Harassment

“It is important to provide survivors of domestic violence with secure communication channels free from the threat of stalking and harm,” says Representative Dingell in her letter.

“My goal is to also work collaboratively with you, automakers, domestic violence groups, and other stakeholders to ensure well-intentioned technological innovations do not create new challenges and risks for survivors.” – U.S. Representative Debbie Dingell

Dingell goes on to state that this technology is too easily accessed without asking the correct questions, leading to potential abuse. She wants more options for survivors to revoke an abuser’s access to connected vehicle technology and to remove sensitive information. In many situations, the abuser may have purchased the vehicle or have co-ownership, giving them unlimited access to GPS information that can lead to stalking and further harassment.

2024 Hyundai Santa Fe Infotainment
Hyundai

The Need for a Warrant

The second letter focuses on automakers that are offering up sensitive vehicle information to law enforcement without requiring a warrant. The list names Toyota, Hyundai, Nissan, Subaru, VW, BMW, Mazda, Mercedes-Benz, and Kia as automakers that accept subpoenas (no judge approval) rather than requiring a warrant, though Hyundai will accept warrants. GM, Honda, Ford, Tesla, and Stellantis are the only ones interviewed that do require a warrant for location data, so where you wandered in your Jeep Wrangler is still your business.

Related

BMW Fights Back Against Vicious Privacy Report Allegations

BMW North America says it does not sell customer in-vehicle personal information and has defenses for the other allegations, too.

Furthermore, the only company that says it reports requests to the vehicle owner is Tesla, so your Model 3 won’t snitch on you but will collect a whole host of other data. The letter says that given a warrant is required for access to emails or to search a phone, a vehicle should be no different, especially given this information can be potentially incriminating. According to the letters, no law in place says a warrant is necessary for this information to be legal, but 19 companies did sign a voluntary set of privacy principles in 2014 that included adhering to these stipulations.

P90523064_highRes_the-bmw-i5-edrive40-
BMW

#Automakers #Handing #Personal #Vehicle #Information #Warrant

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