Mozilla released their studies, and I’m seeing a growing number of posts on the Internet about cars and the privacy nightmare they entail. I remember how this issue wasn’t talked about earlier because “just buy an older car” was still prevalent. I’m so happy that people are taking notice. Thank you to this community and Mozilla for the work they are putting in!

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Depending on your vehicle… It’s possible to remove all the Nanny tracking via some DIY hacks or even a call to “opt out”

Cool Beance

Guys honestly just buy a kei car like a Honda N-Van and a phone mount. 42 mpg, spacious, tons of cargo capacity, comparatively minuscule carbon footprint, and a basic 2din radio.

I don’t have to worry about this stuff, because my car is too old to have RFID, or GPS tracking

How exactly do they collect info other than GPS?

How are people interacting with the “radio” that it’s given so much info?

Are new vehicles required to be connected to phone network to function?

What functionality is lost of not connected.

As a motorist who prefers to drive cheap cars that have a little tech as possible so that there is little to go wrong and what goes wrong I can fix myself I know nothing about the latest gen of cars

Cars are mandated to have a “SIM” (I don’t know how this is implemented, that’s a question for the engineers) inside that can be connected at all times. This was originally meant for faster accident response, and I’m assuming car companies have contracts with the Telecom companies (someone from the engineering/law teams help me here) to transmit data over their networks even when the user’s devices are not connected

And what if the cellular connection “accidentally” breaks and doesn’t get fixed?

Ota updates don’t get to the car. That could be a problem, it could not be a problem.

I meant legally.

If that’s the case then why do cars cry about wanting internet connection for updates?


It may be that the car company doesn’t want to pay more for the cell service than they need to; if they can push the download onto your cell plan it’s cheaper for them.

I’m not sure how much it matters that people are taking notice. If all cars are doing it, what can we do? It’s not like people can’t buy cars anymore and it’s not like individual people can pay off politicians to make it illegal like large corporations can to make it legal.

There are a few options I guess. If enough people notice then there may be more money in being the company that respects privacy and just charges more for the car up front.
It might even encourage more people to buy used instead of new.
Or some people might just decide they don’t need a car.

Caring is the first step to actively doing something. The more people that know, the more that will care and the more people that will act. Gotta start somewhere.

The more people who notice, the more who care. The more who care, the more capital to be gained by proposing and / or supporting regulation.

We won’t get free healthcare (in the states) or housing, but this is something trivial enough that I could see politicians making a play.

Hopefully the EU gets pissed about it skirting around GDPR.

Thanks for this. I’m not in USA but I had chatgpt summarize my vehicle manufacturers privacy policy. Its wasn’t great, so I sent an email to their privacy inbox. Next, I’ll email my politicians.

I’m waiting for Elon to release a dumb tweet (xeet?) about how tesla has zero data collection

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Are those sort of lies from a company’s CEO punishable by fine or perhaps prison, or is flat-out lying about your company in a public statement totally cool, totally legal nowadays?


Things are making more sense now lol

Ever since Jeep released their current gen Cherokee and two hackers revealed that they could hack into the entirety of the car by just knowing the phone number of the car’s hotspot, I have avoided new cars like the plague

maybe I’m a little behind the times when it comes to cars, but shouldn’t it be relatively trivial on the community scale to create foss head unit OS’s? are there other components that phone home besides the head unit? most cars have replaceable head units anyway, right? I feel like I must be missing something here

Well… No. Head units are pretty much integrated units nowadays. That transition started back in the 2000’s, and pretty much any car after like 2012-2015 is going to have a fully integrated head unit. Unless the FOSS unit is custom made for the car, replacing the head unit would severely impact the car’s functionality. It’s not as easy as just wiring a power and audio cable in, and it hasn’t been for about a decade.

Ironically, I don’t even think that was the reason for making integrated head units. I think auto manufacturers realized that touch screens and PCBs were cheaper to mass produce and install. Analog control systems fell out of favor because they require a team of techs sitting on a manufacturing line wiring them together. But a PCB and touch screen can just be plugged in and screwed in by a single tech.


Exactly. My car is 10-15 years old, and the touchscreen handles the climate control, radio, gps, phone, interior lighting, and ton of ancillary features. I doubt it’s possible to replace the system with anything but an OEM replacement unless you’re a really dedicated hardware hacker.

Exactly. The only reason I still have analog controls in my 10 year old car is because it’s a Toyota; Toyota is infamous for lagging behind other auto manufacturers, because they prize reliability over function. So they’ll only add something to a vehicle once they’re sure it’ll survive a decade of regular use. Back in the 2010’s, they were still refusing to add integrated head units with massive screens, because they weren’t fully time-tested yet. But if you get a current Toyota, you’ll find that enough time has passed for them to have integrated head units.

Feels like any car after around 2000 has an integrated head unit with other controls. Not easy or possible in many cases remove it without impacting the functionality of the car.

Have… you been in a new car in the last 20 years?

Head units are no longer a seperate component.

That’s why I’m glad I have an older car that doesn’t have any computer crap in it. I don’t want to have to jailbreak my car for it to be usable.

There’s no S in IOT

The S in IoT stands for Security

My joke but better

Frankly, I can’t believe how many different posts I’ve seen about that article today. Amazing.


People are starting to comment on the topic and take notice? That is great to hear. It is not often that this happens when such a study is released. It might be that ordinary people who lack the knowledge on the subject may be able to comprehend the concerns regarding privacy in cars more readily than in other areas. Whatever the case is, I’m happy the discussion is finally happening.

I think it also has a little bit of shock factor. Everyone expects Google to be spying on you, so nobody is surprised when a report is released about a Google Home speaker being bad for privacy. When you’re buying the speaker, you’re making an active choice to trade privacy for convenience.

But the average person probably doesn’t expect that from their vehicle. I think lots of people are shocked to find out how much info their car has been collecting about them. Especially since cars aren’t usually considered a luxury in the US. To make the same comparison, a smart speaker is a luxury. You can opt out of the data collection by refusing to purchase one. You can do without it. But in most of the US, a car is a necessity, and this means that you can’t opt out of the data collection because you need a car to survive.

Hot Saucerman

Also, while Google collecting data on you means they use it for advertising, your vehicle collecting driving data on you absolutely can and will be eventually used for insurance coverage. Insurance companies are absolutely salivating at being able to prove people’s bad driving habits with data and use those as ways to increase the cost of their coverage.

Not loving the idea of being spied on by the insurance company dickbags just so they can look for any amount of “bad driving” as an excuse to pump up my rates.

With fancy leases the car has a black box they will sell it as a feature to record when your car is stolen or monitor it in crashes. What it also does is monitor your speed. For the cars I sold, the lease agreement you signed to lease the car had language informing you of data collection regarding your driving.

Huge props to Mozilla on this one - their article is clear and thorough. A lot of the studies are very vague, limited in scope, or way too technical, which makes them hard to share and discuss broadly.


That is true and might be the reason the study is successful at raising public awareness about the topic.

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