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What Happens to the Data Your Car Collects?


By Alexa Erickson, The Family Handyman

Technology gets smarter every day. At work, in our homes and even in our cars, we are giving up some of our privacy by staying wirelessly connected. In fact, have you ever thought about how your car data is being used? 

Car data is one of the many ways company's learn about us. Through your connected phone and the computers built in to your car, data about where you've been, what music you like, your favorite restaurant and so much more are gathered. 

Today's cars have as many as 100 elements that generate data, from the brakes to the windshield wipers. 

"They can pack the power of 20 personal computers and can process up to 25 gigs of data every hour – some of it beamed back," reports CBS News

While some car data collection does good, like using the information to improve driving performance and safety, a lot of personal information that you don't want shared results in what many consider an invasion of privacy.

So while your phone may seem harmless, that backup camera in your car may seem like a godsend and those sensors are your answer to perfect parking, unfortunately, all of these allow automakers to collect valuable pieces of information about you. 

While drivers own the data stored in the "black boxes" that monitor vehicles in a crash, for instance, police and insurers are required to get a driver's consent, or a court order, to access it. Unfortunately, there are no laws regarding data collection by automakers via car internet connections. And, while most automakers provide owners the option to decline car data collection, it's typically buried in the fine print. 

"As automakers collect more data about drivers, they're more likely to look for ways to profit. The built-in display screens and mapping software would seem to be ideal spots for posting advertisements, similar to what Google, Facebook, Amazon and many other internet companies already do," reports the Chicago Tribune.



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