These Car Brands Will Snitch On You To Police

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These Car Brands Will Snitch On You To Police
These Car Brands Will Snitch On You To Police

Privacy is a hot topic these days, thanks in no small part to modern technology connecting us like never before. While you might be worried about TikTok or other apps on your phone tracking where you go and what you like to do, there’s another privacy risk involving your car and the police.

GM says it’s shutting down a controversial data collection tool.

Two US Senators claim eight automakers – Toyota, Nissan, Subaru, Volkswagen, BMW, Mazda, Mercedes-Benz, and Kia – have “kept consumers in the dark” about their willingness to provide cars’ locations to police without being served a warrant, reports Automotive News.


Those Senators, Ron Wyden of Oregon and Edward Markey of Massachusetts, say the automakers didn’t violate privacy laws, even though consumers might feel differently. Instead, they argue the companies are engaging in deceptive conduct, a practice forbidden by the FTC.

All eight of the above listed automakers declared back in 2014 as part of the Consumer Privacy Protection Principles that they wouldn’t hand over vehicle information, including location, to authorities without a warrant or court order. That no longer seems to be their disposition, meaning if local, state, or federal law enforcement were to contact them with a request, they apparently would just hand over whatever.

After a damning report run by The New York Times on General Motors sharing drivers’ data with LexisNexis, which in turn sold the info to insurance companies, people have become more aware of their data privacy risks. Hearing that so many mainstream automakers will willingly hand over whatever police want without a court order is understandably concerning.

But a spokesman for the Alliance for Automotive Innovation says sharing drivers’ location information is done “under specific and limited circumstances, such as when the automaker is provided a warrant or court order or in situations where there is an imminent threat of serious bodily harm or death to an individual.”

Mercedes-Benz, Toyota, Kia, Subaru, and Nissan all contacted Automotive News to clarify their stances. All of them seem to take issue with the simple statement that they will simply hand over drivers’ data without a warrant.

But the big question is whether or not vehicle owners feel they can trust the car companies. In this day and age, it seems trust runs a little thin.

Image via Toyota

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