Is My Car Spying on Me?

Your Car is Spying on You

Rental Cars Spying On You - Feds Spying On You

Updated: May 6, 2022
By: RSH Web Editorial Staff

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Can My Car Monitor Me?

Experts Say YES!

Data generated by your car already collects information about you and your driving habits. It also has the ability to monitor and or sell this data.

If you have a newer automobile, if you have an Infotainment system. On Board Diagnostics (OBDs), Event Data Recorders (EDRs). Toll Booth Transponders (TBTs) or any other unit that can monitor your driving.

You are being monitored

At present, consumer's privacy is regulated when it comes to banking transactions, medical records, phones and Internet use.

But your automobile which today is basically a rolling computer is not regulated.

All too often,"People just do not know it is happening," says Dorothy Glancy, A law professor at Santa Clara University in California who specializes in Transportation and Privacy. "People should be able to decide whether they want their data collected or not".

In recent years Auto Manufacturers have turned your vehicle from a product you own and control to one you merely use and license, much like software, this is hidden between dozens of pages of "Small Print".

Apart from its implications of what the meaning of “Ownership” really is. There is the fear that your personal data and driving habits collected by your car infringes on your privacy. As it is inevitably transferred to the car manufacturer and sold to third parties. This is similar to the practices with telecommunication providers, which has some of the worst examples and has put people in dangerous situations by selling their location data Which stalkers got a hold of.


Telematics or Remote Connection Services, such as GM's OnStar, Ford Sync and Chrysler's UConnect, come with an array of benefits, like navigation services, vehicle tracking, roadside dispatch and assistance in the event of an emergency, diagnostic checks and remote updates. But Consumer Reports also wrote: "Though EDRs capture only a few seconds of data, telematics systems provide a regular stream about a car's location and other parameters. It is not clear what data is collected and what is done with it". Even automakers do not seem sure about the best ways to use it.

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These systems can be used to save lives, for example in the event of an accident it can notify authorities, but worse, criminals can locate you in real time. At the very least, the data can also be obtained from your car by using the Onboard Diagnostics (OBD) systems, which have become mandatory for cars sold in most countries since the early 2000s.

Ford Executives have publicly bragged about their ability to know where each of their automobiles are at any given time to detect traffic violations such as speeding. Some cars even have cameras pointed at the driver at all times to detect whether a driver is sleeping (Smile - You're on Candid Camera).

Rental cars - Spyware

Rental car companies were among the first to use the opportunities from readily available surveillance technology to tracking their cars and customers. This was driven partly by their interest to introduce new fees, reduce insurance costs, enforce contract limits, fight theft and gather data about their "clients" behavior.

Hertz went as far as installing microphones and cameras in their cars, although the company later insisted those were never turned on.

Some Rental companies also fined their customers for speeding (with payments that went to the company, not the local government) were found in violation of the law.

This just goes to show people do, and will take advantage of this type of technology for their own personal gain, at our expense.

When you rent a car, you might have some choice between different rental companies and their policies regarding surveillance. But ultimately, the company does own the vehicles and can install surveillance equipment at will.

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Cars leased or financed can also be subject to agreements that allow car manufacturers or the leasing companies to scoop your private data. Mercedes-Benz was caught handing this type of data to bailiffs in cases where drivers were behind on their payments.

Almost all modern luxury vehicles are connected to the Internet and have a location tracking device, based on US design GPS, European Union’s Galileo, Satellite Navigation System of China's BeiDou, or Russian's Glonass.

Many of these features will help make driving safer. But, with a car’s software becoming the most valuable intellectual property of a car. Systems remain heavily locked down, leaving consumers unable to verify the mechanisms that control access to cameras and sensors.

Consumers instead have to trust the manufacturer and their government to respect their privacy and follow the law when accessing sensitive information.

Did we mention Automobiles are not Regulated.

This is just not acceptable.

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