Do Modern Cars Collect Data?

car with computer data overlapping it

Yes. According to Mashable, “modern cars collect a lot of data on their drivers,” which could cause a “privacy nightmare.” Teslas and other modern vehicles are like smartphones on wheels, and any time a device is connected to WiFi, legal grey areas emerge.

Safety and Surveillance

Your car could provide a record of where you have been and what you have done, and until regulations emerge, automakers are under no obligation to keep that information private. If you are suspected of a crime or under investigation, automakers may even be required to turn your data over to the police.

In newer cars, maneuvers as simple as using your turn signal go through the automaker’s network. Every driving behavior you exhibit can be logged and come back to haunt you in a car accident – or even when getting an insurance quote. There is already an entire industry, called “telematics,” dedicated to monitoring driving behavior, and insurance companies use your data to provide good-driver discounts.

Although this kind of technology can make driving safer, it also tracks where you’re going and what you’re doing – information that can be used to incriminate or exploit you in a variety of circumstances. At the very least, people feel unsettled and “creeped out” to know big businesses and law enforcement could have access to personal data from their cars.

People have already been convicted of crimes – and exonerated from them – using telematics data from cars.

Potential Problems

Just like other kinds of hardware and software, modern cars also have the potential to be hacked. Even if you have nothing to hide, your modern car could make you susceptible to scams and problems. Because the technology is so new, many of these problems are just starting to emerge.

To make matters worse, drivers who do not wish to share their data have few options. They may purchase older cars that do not have data technology but lack important safety features or opt-out of services like OnStar that track their location and driving behavior. Still, their every turn signal may be tracked in newer, safer vehicles.

Privacy protection businesses are already starting to emerge. Just like consumers need to purchase security for their computers, drivers may need to download apps to help reduce the amount of data their cars collect.

How Can I Protect Myself?

In addition to setting your privacy settings as high as possible, you may also need legal help after car accidents or when facing criminal charges. Lawyers can help monitor what comes into evidence in both civil and criminal cases, and some of your data may be subject to protection.

At Foley Griffin, we remain on the cutting edge of technology and the law. We have more than 75 years of collective legal experience and are committed to quality representation that leaves no stone unturned.

If you need help after a car accident or a dedicated defense to criminal charges, do not hesitate to contact our firm at (888) 966-8480 or online to schedule a free, confidential consultation.

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