Mozilla Foundation Exposes Privacy Concerns in Connected Cars

The Mozilla Foundation in California has released a study that paints a worrying picture of the car industry’s approach to customer data. No car brand met Mozilla’s privacy standards, making this product category the worst reviewed ever by the organisation.

“Modern cars are a privacy nightmare,” says Mozilla, known for its Firefox web browser that emphasises user privacy. “Car makers have been bragging about their cars being ‘computers on wheels’, but all they’ve really done is turn these vehicles into data-gobbling machines.”

Worst Offenders on the List

Tesla tops the list as the worst offender in terms of privacy, with Nissan close behind. What makes Nissan stand out is the extremely sensitive nature of the data it collects, including information on sexual activity.

“Tesla was the worst offender, but Nissan was collecting some of the creepiest categories of data,” adds Mozilla in its statement.

High Percentage of Data Sharing

The study reveals some shocking numbers. Out of 25 car brands reviewed, 84% admitted to sharing personal data with service providers, data brokers, and other businesses.

And 76% confirmed they sold their customers’ data. Over half the companies stated they would share data with government and law enforcement agencies when asked.

Cars as Entertainment Hubs

Cars today don’t just get you from point A to point B; they also offer in-car entertainment and other third-party functions like satellite radio and maps.

All these features, while convenient, also gather data about users’ preferences and behaviours.


Little Control for Users

An overwhelming 92% of car brands provide little or no control to users over their own data.

The study finds only Renault and its Dacia brand allow users to delete their data, likely because they have to comply with European Union laws.

Questionable Security Measures

A lack of transparency also marks the industry’s approach to security. Despite 68% of the car brands having suffered from data leaks, hacks, or breaches in the past three years, none confirmed they met Mozilla’s minimum security requirements.

What Can Be Done?

While car brands seem reluctant to tighten their privacy and security measures, users have limited options. Pressure from the public and tighter regulations might be the most effective ways to bring about change.

The Mozilla Foundation’s study is an important step in raising awareness about this critical issue.

“Unless we address this now, the problem will only get worse,” warns Mozilla, as it pushes for stronger data protection measures and greater user control.

“Our cars should be safe places, not data mines that put our privacy at risk.”

So the next time you sit in your ‘computer on wheels’, remember that the cost of convenience could be your own privacy.