Is your car spying on you? Some experts think so

Car companies say they use the information to help make you safer. But they also share it with third parties.

ATLANTA — People love the convenience of asking cars for directions or to find the nearest restaurant.

But some experts believe your car could be spying on you.

Car companies say they use the information to help make you safer, but they also share it with third parties.

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"I don't feel like they have a right. That's my information, not theirs," Joey Aycock told Channel 2 Action News.

Aycock said he brought his new Ford F-150 and it came with an app called Ford Pass. It can do things to do like find coffee, fuel stops and a dealer. It sounds helpful but not to Aycock.

"I don't think that where I go and where I stop and what I do is the manufacturer's business," he said.

Vehicle computers can track your driving habits, like how fast you go and whether you wear a seat belt. There's even an event data recorder like a black box on an airplane. It's usually in the airbag system.

Plus, there are cameras, and they're not just outside the vehicle.


Some companies like General Motors, Subaru and now Volvo, are putting cameras inside vehicles facing the driver to warn you if you get tired or distracted.

"My concern is, what do they do with that information?" Aycock asks.

Car companies said they use that information to make your experience better and the vehicle safer.

"Ninety-four percent of crashes are attributable in some part to human error, and I think technology can go a long way to bridge that gap," said Lauren Smith, with the Future of Privacy Forum in D.C. "But, at the same time, I think it requires a shift in how we're thinking about our cars and recognizing that, if we're having certain features, we may be trading information in exchange."

Smith agrees that a safer experience for the driver might mean less privacy. That said, 20 of the biggest automakers, including all the ones we've mentioned have taken steps on their own.

They came up with a report on consumer privacy protection principles. They agree to let customers know what information they collect and with whom they share it. They also agree to ask for customers' consent first for the most sensitive data.

"It all boils down to control and access, who has access to it and who has control of it," Aycock said. "I don't feel like they have a right. That's my information, not theirs."

And be careful when you sell you car.

You might want to erase any information you stored, like your contact and home addresses. There are apps that will wipe that clean for you.