Monday, March 25, 2013

Is your car spying on you?

Is your car spying on you?

If it's a recent model, has a fancy infotainment system or is equipped with toll-booth transponders or other units you brought into the car that can monitor your driving, your driving habits or destination could be open to the scrutiny of others. If your car is electric, it's almost surely capable of ratting you out.
You may have given your permission, or you may be the last to know.

At present, consumers' privacy is regulated when it comes to banking transactions, medical records, phone and Internet use. But data generated by cars, which these days are basically rolling computers, are not.

All too often,"people don't know it's happening," says Dorothy Glancy, a law professor at Santa Clara University in California who specializes in transportation and privacy. "People should be able to decide whether they want it collected or not."

Try as you may to protect your privacy while driving, it's only going to get harder. The government is about to mandate installation of black-box accident recorders, a dumbed-down version of those found on airliners - that remember all the critical details leading up to a crash, from your car's speed to whether you were wearing a seat belt. The devices are already built into 96% of new cars.

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