Connected cars’ illegal data collection and use now on FTC’s “radar” ( )

The Federal Trade Commission's Office of Technology has issued a warning to automakers that sell connected cars. Companies that offer such products "do not have the free license to monetize people’s information beyond purposes needed to provide their requested product or service," it wrote in a blog post on Tuesday. Just because executives and investors want recurring revenue streams, that does not "outweigh the need for meaningful privacy safeguards," the FTC wrote.

In 2023, the Mozilla Foundation published an extensive report examining the various automakers' policies regarding the use of data from connected cars; the report concluded that "cars are the worst product category we have ever reviewed for privacy."

The FTC is not taking specific action against any automaker at this point. Instead, the blog post is meant to be a warning to the industry. It says that "connected cars have been on the FTC's radar for years," although the agency appears to have done very little other than hold workshops in 2013 and 2018, as well as publishing guidance for consumers reminding them to wipe the data from their cars before selling them.

The FTC says the easiest way to comply is to not collect the data in the first place.

PM_Your_Nudes_Please ,

We just need to pool money and start buying info from lawmakers’ cars. When it’s their info being published, I bet they’ll have a much more positive response to cracking down.

paraphrand ,

People who are blindly data driven piss me off so much. It leads to these practices where they demand data and act like they have the right to collect it.

They often don’t like to act like they have to properly protect the data either.

enleeten ,

FTC: "We are very angry with you and we are going to write a blog post telling you how angry we are."

natarey ,

The FTC will take ten years to accomplish nothing of value -- and even whatever fig-leaf ruling they issue will be sued into oblivion, or voided by the Supreme Court.

Privacy is dead because killing it was in the interest of too many wealthy and powerful companies, government agencies, and individuals for it to have ended up any other way.

blazera , avatar

Huh, i wonder if this is part of why western countries have been so against Chinese cars lately. Too much privacy.

Buelldozer , avatar

Nah, it's not that Chinese cars have too much privacy its that the data is going to China.

blazera , avatar

you're making an assumption you've never actually heard about arent you

Buelldozer , avatar

Project Lion Cage by Tor Indstøy.

According to that Finnish Researchers project, on his own ES8 from NIO, about 90% of the data the car generates is being sent directly to China. The data includes the cars physical location as well as specific information about the driver.

He has 6 articles in the series now.

barsquid ,

The country needs far stronger privacy laws.

FenrirIII , avatar

But that will never happen since we legalized bribery

MonkderDritte ,

Wasn't it Merkel years ago with whom car data belongs to: the telecommunication provider or the vendor?

applepie ,

Please don't be another fed fake charade to paper over gross misconduct of our corpo daddies

northendtrooper ,
franklin , avatar

In the past I would have been dismissive however the FTC seems to have been very active with enforcing consumer protections as of late so I remain hopeful.

sigmaklimgrindset , avatar

Lina Khan, the current chair of the FTC, seems to have a history with anti-trust legal research and seems to actively care about pursuing anti-competitive industries.

I truly wish her all the best in this regulatory captured mess.

WhiskyTangoFoxtrot ,

Good thing people voted hard in 2020.

5C5C5C ,

I'm disappointed to learn that she was born British so she can never run for president in America.

.. Not that the FTC chair is known to be a pipeline to the presidency, but I'm ready to turn over every stone at this point.

NegativeLookBehind , avatar

FTC won’t do shit about it, calling it now

blackbelt352 ,

I mean, the FTC is doing something. It's the courts I'm more concerned with.

ptz , (edited ) avatar

Carnac the Magnificent holding an envelope to his head predicting the contents

In 6 months, automakers will be suing all the way to the Supreme Court challenging the FTC's regulatory authority (like every frigging industry is doing for every regulatory body nowadays).

!RemindMe months

They're like a bunch of petulant children screaming, "I don't want to, and you can't make me!".

snooggums , avatar

They used to follow regulations, or at least pretended to.

Now they all sue because they know they have a decent chance of having regulations overthrown by a court system stacked with pro-corporate justices that have zero respect for precedent or the general piblic.

Rentlar ,

And for a low price of a billion dollars, the potential for the executive branch to capitulate to the oligopolies!

barsquid ,

Donald as always overestimating what he is worth. I'd just buy members of Congress for far cheaper. Or do nothing: Russia has already purchased them and will force Donald to deregulate shit regardless.

Congress members are like low tens of thousands to purchase. SCOTUS rulings are the price of an RV.

Nollij ,

The worst part is, look into the public records of all of the corrupt politicians. Most were bought for under $10k.

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