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Companies are getting rich by collecting data from your vehicle

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A new report from TheMarkup suggests that similar to smartphone app, today’s cars that are connected to the internet also collect a ton of user data, and most drivers are unbeknown to it.

According to a recent poll of drivers conducted by the Automotive Industries Association of Canada, only 28 percent of respondents understood what sorts of data is collected by their car, while the same percentage of people said that they had a clear understanding of who had access to that data.

Following the poll, TheMarkup identified 37 companies in the “connected vehicle data industry” that monetize from the data you provide them unknowingly. The 37 companies are:

  1. Here
  2. OnStar (GM)
  3. Sirius XM
  4. Telenav
  5. TomTom
  6. Xevo
  7. Allstate
  8. Arity
  9. Farmer’s Insurance
  10. Geico
  11. Liberty Mutual
  12. State Farm
  13. Progressive
  14. AT&T
  15. T-Mobile
  16. Verizon
  17. CARUSO
  18. CCC-X
  19. High Mobility
  20. INRIX
  21. Insurance & Mobility Solutions
  22. LexisNexis
  23. Otonomo
  24. Synaptiv
  25. Verisk
  26. Wejo
  27. Geotab
  28. Cambridge Mobile Telematics
  29. Cubic Telecom
  30. Ericsson
  31. Mojio
  32. Munic
  33. NexTraq
  34. Samsara
  35. Scope Technology
  36. Spireon
  37. Zeliot

According to the report, the connected vehicle data market is still young, but fast-growing, and analysts predict it to be worth between $300 billion USD (about $384 billion CAD) to $800 billion USD (roughly $1 trillion CAD) in eight years. The vehicle collects data like the cabin temperature, the speed at which the car is moving, the location of the vehicle, how often the breaks are applied, which song is playing in the car, and whether the vehicle is low on oil. Said data is collected and processed by the car’s computer and transmitted to the car manufacturer’s servers via cellular radio.

The companies mentioned say that they take extra steps to make sure driver privacy is protected, by anonymizing and aggregating driver data. However, considering the sensitive nature of the location and movement data, the report suggests that it is easy for companies to violate user privacy. One of the companies mentioned above — Otonomo, prides itself on keeping driver information private, and even describes its platform as having “privacy and security by design.”

Yet, in 2021, Motherboard found out that free samples on Otonomo’s site contained precise and individual vehicle data, following which, a BMW owner filed a class action lawsuit against the company, stating that he never granted permission to the company to collect and sell his personal data.

Read the in-depth TheMarkup report about how your connected vehicle might be collecting your data here.

Image credit: Shutterstock

Source: TheMarkup





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