Home > NewsRelease > Automakers are Giving Your Car Data to Police! Betrayal EXPOSED!
Automakers are Giving Your Car Data to Police! Betrayal EXPOSED!
Lauren Fix, The Car Coach -- Automotive Expert -- Consultant Lauren Fix, The Car Coach -- Automotive Expert -- Consultant
For Immediate Release:
Dateline: New York, NY
Friday, June 7, 2024


At least eight carmakers in the US have admitted they would backtrack on a voluntary privacy agreement and turn over the personal customer data to government and police, prompting calls for an investigation.

Automotive News reports 19 carmakers had voluntarily signed up for the Consumer Privacy Protection Principles in 2014 – standards which would require US government agencies (including police) to obtain a warrant or court order to access customer location data.

However, 8 automakers misled customers about giving driver data to police, and now US lawmakers are raising questions about whether automakers can be held to account for departing from promises made about user privacy.

So who is giving your information to others? Toyota, Nissan, Subaru, Volkswagen, BMW, Mazda, Mercedes-Benz, and Kia would turn over the data if a subpoena was produced – in violation of the standards they signed up for. More smoke and mirrors when it comes to your data.

These car companies are following the agreement they signed; General Motors, Honda, Ford, Stellantis, and Tesla require a warrant for location data, unless it was an emergency or customer consent was provided. Tesla was also the only brand to notify its customers of legal demands. Actually… all manufacturers should inform customers. 

This has not only raised concerns about what other privacy promises carmakers have made that they won’t keep, but has led to two US Senators calling for the companies to be investigated by the Federal Trade Commission.

“Automakers have not only kept consumers in the dark regarding their actual practices, but multiple companies misled consumers for over a decade by failing to honor the industry’s own voluntary privacy principles,” said Senators Ron Wyden and Edward Markey in a letter to the FTC.

“Vehicle location data can be used to identify Americans who have travelled to seek an abortion in another state, attended protests, support groups for alcohol, drug, and other types of addiction, or identify those of particular faiths, as revealed through trips to places of worship.”

Mercedes-Benz, Toyota, and Kia all defended their practices, while the Alliance for Automotive Innovation – a lobby group for the car industry – claimed government agencies only request location information when there is clear danger to an individual.

“Vehicle location information is only provided to law enforcement 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,” an AAI spokesperson told Automotive News.

The calls for an investigation into the data-sharing habits of carmakers comes after General Motors ended its partnerships with two major data brokers, following accusations of sharing information on drivers without their consent.

In March, The New York Times published an in-depth investigation about a Chevrolet Bolt owner who had been quoted a significantly higher insurance renewal premium, later discovering his driving data was being sold to insurance firms by data broker LexisNexis.

This was followed by a second report, detailing a proposed class action lawsuit put forward by a Cadillac XT6 owner who claimed he was denied insurance by seven companies on account of his LexisNexis driving report provided to the firms without his knowledge.

Both of the vehicles were equipped with OnStar, GM’s connected services brand which gathered data used by LexisNexis.

In the wake of the reports, General Motors subsequently ended its partnership with both LexisNexis and Verisk, a similar company which also sold driving data to insurance companies.

According to The New York Times, an internal document circulated within General Motors showed more than eight million vehicles were actively supplying data through OnStar’s Smart Driver program as of 2022.

How to Find Out What Your Car Is Doing

  • See the data your car is capable of collecting with this tool: vehicleprivacyreport.com/.
  • Check your connected car app, if you use one, to see if you are enrolled in one of these programs.
  • Do an online search for “privacy request form” alongside the name of your vehicle’s manufacturer. There should be instructions on how to request information your car company has about you.
  • Request your LexisNexis report: consumer.risk.lexisnexis.com/consumer
  • Request your Verisk report: fcra.verisk.com/#/

Remember, you own your data, not these companies. Just because they make the software, doesn’t mean they get to control what happens to your information. The problem is, you sign away your ownership when you use the systems. Keep an eye out for opt-out options and support government bills that protect your privacy.

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We will be reviewing all of the newest cars on our YouTube channel Car Coach Reports and Car Smarts

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Total Car Score Podcast ? Hosts: Lauren Fix, Karl Brauer and Javier Mota.   www.revolverpodcasts.com/shows/total-car-score/

Lauren Fix, The Car Coach®, is a nationally recognized automotive expert, sector analyst, journalist, author, keynote speaker and television host.  A trusted car expert, Lauren provides an insider’s perspective on a wide range of automotive topics and aspects, energy, industry, consumer news and safety issues.  Her analysis is honest and straightforward.

Lauren is the CEO of Automotive Aspects and the Editor-in-Chief of Car Coach Reports, a global automotive news outlet. She is an automotive contributor to national and local television news shows including Fox News, Fox Business, CNN International, The Weather Channel, Inside Edition, Community Digital News, Local Now News, NewsMax and more. Lauren also co-hosts a regular show “His Turn - Her Turn” on ABC.com; “Total Car Score” podcast and hosts a weekly radio segment on GCN Radio.

Lauren is honored to be inducted into the Women’s Transportation Hall of Fame and a Board Member of  is the Buffalo Motorcar Museum and Juror / President for the North American Car, Utility & Truck of the Year Awards.  

Lauren is the author of three books and inherited her love of all things automotive from her father. She has been advising drivers for almost all her life.

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