Motion & Emotion

Security Experts Reveal Why Test-Driving Cars Could Expose Your Data


Google receives an average of 5.6 billion searches a day, with 63% coming from mobile devices. With millions of these devices connected to vehicle infotainment systems, new research can reveal how much access manufacturers have to their drivers’ data.

A brand new study from has delved into the privacy policies of fifteen of the most popular car manufacturers around the globe, finding out which brands tell us most about the data they collect. 

Out of the 15 Manufacturers in the Study, Nearly Half of Them (Seven) Can Access Your Search History:
1. Tesla
2. Audi
3. BMW
4. Jaguar
5. Honda
6. Mini
7. Land Rover

 The cars that collect the most data

One of the smartest cars on the market today, it’s no surprise Tesla places first in the study for consuming the most driver data, scoring 20 out of 28.

Being a leader in innovation, Tesla’s personalised driving experience needs copious amounts of data to function at total capacity, and they even send alerts when the driver is not paying attention during self-driving mode

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Audi also scored highly for accessing driver data, with an overall score of 19 out of 20 in the study. Data collected from the infotainment system in an Audi scored highest in the whole study. With its drivers connecting via the myAudi App, Audi can provide a read-aloud function for Twitter messages, online news, and emails.

For drivers who may have concerns over their data being accessible, the experts asked Chris Clark for his tips on making sure their data is safe.

“The first thing would be removing all of your Bluetooth data. 

“The next thing that you can do, which is probably the most pervasive and most available to consumers of today, is to take the vehicle to the dealership and have them reflash the entire vehicle. 

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1. It should update the vehicle to the latest software that’s available to them. This helps to keep the car secure but also updates things like maps to get safer navigation settings.

2. It should ensure that all the information about driver habits, location, paired devices is removed from the vehicle because it’s been electronically updated.

And that’s the best thing consumers who are concerned about their personally identifiable information can do.”

“Unfortunately, the way that the vehicle systems are designed, you lose a lot of the capabilities that you typically would buy that new car for if you don’t connect your phone.  

“New car purchases don’t tend to be about how much horsepower, how the vehicle handles, how comfortable the car is anymore. It’s more about the features the vehicle brings lane detection, safety, security, works with a smartphone.

“So in terms of disabling or not utilising some features in the vehicle, I wouldn’t necessarily recommend it. It’s more about being cautious of where that information may go, and when you sell the vehicle, you remove the data.”

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