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THESE 25 car brands including Nissan and Kia, raise alarming privacy concerns: Mozilla report


A Mozilla Foundation report alleges that 25 major car manufacturers, including Nissan, are collecting and sharing deeply personal data, such as sexual activity and health information. The study found privacy and security flaws in car brands from the U.S., Germany, Japan, France, and South Korea.

According to Mozilla, they conducted tests on 25 major car manufacturers, and all of them did not meet privacy standards. The organization asserted that cars represent the most deficient product category they have evaluated in terms of privacy.

The assessment scrutinized privacy and security shortcomings in car brands from five nations: the United States, Germany, Japan, France, and South Korea. Researchers reportedly dedicated 600 hours to review privacy policies, download apps, and communicate with brands, following their ‘Privacy Not Included (PNI) buyer’s guide.’

Jen Caltrider, PNI Program Director, Mozilla, says, “All new cars today are privacy nightmares on wheels that collect huge amounts of personal information.”

According to the report, Nissan stands out as the most problematic. The Japanese automaker’s privacy policy reportedly acknowledges the collection of various data, including details related to sexual activity, health diagnoses, and genetic information.

“They say they can share and sell consumers’ preferences, characteristics, psychological trends, predispositions, behavior, attitudes, intelligence, abilities, and aptitudes to data brokers, law enforcement, and other third parties,” stated the Mozilla blog post.

Notably, Renault is reported as having fewer privacy issues. The Mozilla report adds Volkswagen gathers demographic data (such as age and gender) and driving behavior data (like seatbelt usage and braking patterns) for targeted marketing.

Moreover, the report also highlights that Toyota’s privacy policies are criticized for being excessively complex, comprising a multitude of 12 documents. Whereas, Kia’s privacy policy explicitly mentions the potential collection of information related to an individual’s “sex life.”

Additionally, Mercedes-Benz includes TikTok, an app with its own privacy concerns, in certain vehicle models.



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Updated: 14 Sep 2023, 11:29 AM IST

Joanna Swanson

Joanna Swanson is Europe correspondent at the Thomson Reuters Foundation based in Brussels covering politics, culture, business, climate change, society, economies and inclusive tech. With specific focus in breaking news, she has covered some of the world's most significant stories.