Alex Tijerina For


Geoffrey Fowler, writing for The Washington Post’s Tech Column:

Among the trove of data points were unique identifiers for my and Doug’s phones, and a detailed log of phone calls from the previous week. There was a long list of contacts, right down to people’s address, emails and even photos.

For a broader view, Mason also extracted the data from a Chevrolet infotainment computer that I bought used on eBay for $375. It contained enough data to reconstruct the Upstate New York travels and relationships of a total stranger. We know he or she frequently called someone listed as “Sweetie,” whose photo we also have. We could see the exact Gulf station where they bought gas, the restaurant where they ate (called Taste China) and the unique identifiers for their Samsung Galaxy Note phones.

Infotainment systems can collect even more. Mason has hacked into Fords that record locations once every few minutes, even when you don’t use the navigation system. He’s seen German cars with 300-gigabyte hard drives — five times as much as a basic iPhone 11. The Tesla Model 3 can collect video snippets from the car’s many cameras. Coming next: face data, used to personalize the vehicle and track driver attention.

I was downright freaked out when I read the entire article. I consider myself pretty familiar with privacy trends in consumer technology, and while I regularly read plenty of privacy and security related tech blogs/publications, I have to admit I had no idea about the sheer amount of data being collected by cars these days…

Be sure to check out Geoffrey’s full story and the nifty video he produced. If you’re anything like me, you’ll catch yourself looking slightly cross-eyed at your car’s infotainment screen the next time you’re out for a drive.