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Your car knows more about you than your spouse does

«[C]armakers have turned on a powerful spigot of precious personal data, often without owners’ knowledge, transforming the automobile from a machine that helps us travel to a sophisticated computer on wheels that offers even more access to our personal habits and behaviors than smartphones do.»

This is something of an exaggeration—but not in the way you might think. It's not that cars don't do all these things, it's that mobile phones are even worse.

«“I don’t care if they know where I go,” said Dunn, who makes regular trips to the grocery store and a local yoga studio in his vehicle. “They’re probably thinking, ‘What a boring life this guy’s got.’ ”

«Dunn may consider his everyday driving habits mundane, but auto and privacy experts suspect that big automakers like Honda see them as anything but. By monitoring his everyday movements, an automaker can vacuum up a massive amount of personal information about someone like Dunn, everything from how fast he drives and how hard he brakes to how much fuel his car uses and the entertainment he prefers. The company can determine where he shops, the weather on his street, how often he wears his seat belt, what he was doing moments before a wreck — even where he likes to eat and how much he weighs.»

This is a key aspect of the modern surveillance society—people have convinced themselves that they have "nothing to hide". They have no understanding of just how vast the accumulation is, and what its amalgamation can lead to. And let's not forget about aggregation, as people are wont to do. "I don't use Facebook, so nobody knows anything about me!"—fine, you don't use Facebook, but everyone else does, so they can aggregate a staggering amount of information about you without you. We're not quite at that stage when it comes to cars per se, but I don't doubt that's the direction it's headed. It's a car society, after all.

«Some privacy experts believe that with enough data points about driver behavior, profiles as unique as fingerprints could be developed. But it’s location data, experts say, that already has the greatest potential to put customers at risk.

«“Most people don’t realize how deeply ingrained their habits are and how where we park our car on a regular basis can tell someone many things about us,” Pam Dixon, executive director of the World Privacy Forum, said, noting that research shows that even aggregate data can be reinterpreted to track an individual’s habits. “There’s a load of anti-fraud companies and law enforcement agencies that would love to purchase this data, which can reveal our most intimate habits.”»

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