How can you get rid of everything your car knows about your private life

Smart car cockpit and wireless communication network concept (Getty Creative) (Pusakorn Pongparnit via Getty Images)

Your car knows a lot about you. In the past decade, cars have ceased to be “non-intelligent” machines and have become true smartphones on wheels, that is, systems connected to the Internet and capable of recording data about us. For example, cars can track your round trip, record every step of the accelerator as well as seat belt adjustments, and collect biometric information about you. Some of this data is sold in the shadowy sector of data brokers.

American automobile company Privacy 4 cars It created a tool called the Car Privacy Report, which reveals how much information can be stored about your car. Like the privacy labels on Apple and Google’s apps — which show how Facebook can use your camera or how Uber can use your location data — the tool indicates what vehicle manufacturers might know.

Privacy4Cars offers this feature on its website that allows users to look up their car’s identification number and quickly identify the data it collects, extracting and fleshing out information from the finer details that manufacturers often disclose in complex, dense and comprehensive terms, conditions and privacy statements.

What data does your car collect about you?

According to the motherboardA recent investigation by the same company Privacy4Cars, titled the “Car Privacy Report,” showed that several car manufacturers have revealed that they can collect, store, and even sell a wide range of data, including:

  • Personal identifiers, which may include detailed information such as the driver’s signature, Social Security number, passport number, insurance policy number, employment history, medical information, etc.

  • Biometric data, which can identify individuals, for example through fingerprint mapping, facial recognition and retinal scanning.

  • Geolocation data

  • The data collected is used to create driver profiles

  • Consumer data collected from synced phones, such as text messages and call logs. According to the report, manufacturers often do not disclose whether they also collect data from drivers’ connected smart devices when running third-party apps or syncing with the infotainment system.

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The tool also lists who your information is shared with: such as insurance companies, the government, and data brokers.

Cars can learn important and sensitive things like the driver's signature, Social Security number, passport number, insurance policy number, employment history, medical information, and more.  Photo: Getty Images

Cars can learn important and sensitive things like the driver’s signature, Social Security number, passport number, insurance policy number, employment history, medical information, and more. Photo: Getty Images (Gorodenkov via Getty Images)

How do I delete private data collected by brands?

Privacy4Cars also has a free app for internal control Department And Android Which allows you to erase the huge amount of personal data that many automakers collect, store and often share with third parties, be they law enforcement, insurance companies or even data brokers.

Of course, consumers can use the app to delete data retroactively, however There is no way to prevent them from being collected in the futureso people who are particularly concerned about privacy have to regularly delete car data, which is usually primarily located in the infotainment system.

The scanning process is unique to most vehicle models and types. Privacy4Cars Claims The company has compiled step-by-step scanning instructions for tens of thousands of vehicles, the configuration of which often varies depending on the make, model, year of manufacture and even the number of add-ons customers pay to upgrade a particular model.

The app includes step-by-step visual instructions and makes it easy for you to delete personal information. This is why it is recommended to use Privacy4Cars after every rental or sharing of your vehicle before selling, handing in or exchanging it.

The app usually works with four out of five cars. As Privacy4Cars explains on its website. The company also warns that deleting data may require between three and 50 commands, depending on the make or model of the car. If the car owner does not download software updates, the situation can become complicated. So far, the app has deleted data on more than a million cars, according to Privacy4Cars.

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Myrtle Frost

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