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What does your car know about you? Why researchers say they’re becoming a ‘security nightmare’

BEAVERCREEK — Your car can sure do a whole lot these days, but it also may know a lot about you.

Jen Caltrider, a leader of the Privacy Not Included team at Mozilla, spoke with News Center 7′s I-Team Consumer Investigative reporter Xavier Hershovitz Friday. She said her team reads the privacy policies for a living and car companies have many privacy policies.

“Cars are kind of becoming a security nightmare,” she said.

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Caltrider and her team spent months reading through the privacy policies of 26 car brands, focusing on cars made in the last five years.

“We actually found two car brands, Nissan and Kia, listed sexual activity and sex life in their privacy policies as personal information that they say they can collect,” she said.

Now, Caltrider said that doesn’t automatically mean that they are collecting that information, or even how they would collect it, but it means they can collect it.

As Hershovitz reported on News Center 7 at 5:30 p.m., other things they can collect include your medical information, where you’re going, how fast you drive, and even what songs you play in your car.

“I’m not really happy with anything in the world that has to do with that. There’s a lot of access to your personal information, whether it be your car or apps that you put on your phone,” Gina Ayers, of Dayton, said.

Caltrider said the majority of companies’ policies say they could sell your information and make money off it.

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“Your data is worth a lot of money,” she told Hershovitz.

She also said that there’s “not a lot of things” drivers can do to keep their personal data out of the hands of their car makers.

“I mean, you can do small things. You know, you’re buying new cars, you don’t have to download and install the app that might protect you a little bit. You can try and opt out of as many data collection as you’re able,” she explained.

Caltrider and her team spent 600 hours going through these policies and still have questions. Their full research can be found here.

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