Consumer Alert: Is your car collecting info about your sex life? A study find most cars spy on us

[anvplayer video=”5191840″ station=”998131″]

ROCHESTER, N.Y. — This consumer alert takes a hard look at your car and your privacy.

A new study has found that your car likely knows more about you than your mom. That is disconcerting, but what’s even more so is what is being done with your information. It’s all about the Benjamins. Our private information is being collected and sold.

The Mozilla Foundation, a non-profit that studies internet and privacy issues, studied 25 car manufacturers. And it found every manufacturer sold in America poses a greater risk to your privacy than any device, app or social media platform.

Our cars are rolling computers, many of which are connected to the internet collecting information about how you drive and where. New cars also have microphones and sensors that give you safety features like automatic braking and drowsy driver detection. Those systems are also providing information. Got GPS or satellite radio? Then your car likely knows your habits, musical and political preferences.

Did you download your car’s app which gives you access to even more features? Well that also gives your car access to your phone and all the information on it.

The study found that of the 25 car brands, 84% say they sell your personal data.

And what they collect is astounding.

One example the study sites is KIA’s privacy policy. It indicates the company collects information about your sexual activity. I initially didn’t believe it until I pulled KIA’s privacy policy and read it. And it’s right there in black and white. It says it collects information about your “ethnicity, religious, philosophical beliefs, sexual orientation, sex life, or political opinions.

And KIA is not alone. Nissan’s privacy policy says it can collect your “citizenship status, immigration status, race, national origin, religious or philosophical beliefs, sexual orientation, sexual activity, precise geolocation, health diagnosis data and genetic information.”

And it says it can keep your info for “as long as is necessary for the legitimate business purpose set out in this privacy notice.”

Translation: Nissan can keep your information as long as they want to. And more than half of the manufacturers (56%) say they will share your information with law enforcement if asked. There are steps you can take, like opting out of the sale of your personal information. And always do a factory re-set before selling or trading in your car. With the help of the Mozilla Foundation, here’s Deanna’s Do List.

  • Go online and opt out of sharing your data.
  • Always do a factory reset before selling or trading in your car.
  • Do not give consent to tailored advertising.
  • When connecting through the mobile AP, minimize the data it can collect through the settings on your Apple or Android phone.
  • Do not use Amazon Alexa in your car if you’re concerned about Amazon using the information to target you with advertising.
  • Always use strong passwords and 2-factor authentication for apps and services that connect to your car.
  • Be aware of the possible breach of your privacy before giving your vehicle access to your data through Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, or similar apps.
  • For more privacy tips specific to your car manufacturer, click on the manufacturer in the body of the Mozilla Foundation’s study.