How Smart Cars Collect Your Deepest Secrets?


The idea of cars as mere transportation has drastically shifted with technological advances, turning them into rolling data centers on wheels, like smartphones on steroids. While car manufacturers collect data to enhance safety and performance, they also discreetly gather extensive information about us as we drive. According to ExpressVPN, the privacy concerns surrounding smart cars are far from trivial. The blog reveals that nearly every car manufacturer is engaged in an audacious data collection spree, with a staggering 84% of them taking this even further by sharing or selling this personal data to undisclosed third parties. This article delves into the challenges posed by smart car data, examining its gravity, the key players, and the future of road privacy. Buckle up; it’s going to be a bumpy ride!

The Telematics Web: Your Every Move Analyzed

Your smart car knows more about you than you might think. Telematics systems can be used to track the location and movement of vehicles in real-time, which is valuable for security, recovery in case of theft, and monitoring assets.The intensity of your braking, the aggression of your acceleration, the frequency of headlight usage, the trigger of your windshield wipers, and even the simple act of opening your driver’s side door — all contribute to a comprehensive profile of you as a driver. The automotive industry has mastered the art and science of logging and scrutinizing these actions, giving rise to a thriving telematics industry.

The Intrusive Web of Smart Car Data Collection

But the invasion of your privacy doesn’t stop at your driving habits. The laundry list of data categories they amass reads like a dystopian novel: biometric information, location data, personal details, and, unbelievably, even sexual orientation. With the tide of automation and connectivity sweeping over the automotive industry, car companies are not just taking the wheel; they’re wrestling control of our most intimate information.

Today’s smart cars extend their tentacles beyond the physical act of driving. Services accessible through your car’s infotainment system, from your favorite radio stations to the channels you watch, and even the GPS route planner you trust to guide your way, contribute to the extensive data your vehicle collects. Moreover, when you download your car’s app, you open the door for car companies to access data from your smartphone. These connected services create a mosaic of your preferences and habits, forming a complete picture of your digital identity. 

External Data Sources: More Than Meets the Eye

It’s not just your car that’s prying into your life. Car companies have a knack for mining external data sources to supplement their dossier on you. Information gleaned from data brokers, car dealers (who are privy to your test drives), your social media profiles, and even government sources all contribute to the comprehensive profile that these companies have of you. What was once fragmented data from various channels is now a mosaic revealing your personal preferences, habits, and even your past. It’s as if George Orwell’s “1984” and a sci-fi future are colliding head-on on our roads, but the most unsettling part is that we’re unwittingly along for the ride. In a world where our cars know more about us than we care to admit, what exactly is going on behind the scenes, and where are our data trails leading?

The Tesla Predicament: Untrustworthy AI 

Tesla, the pioneer of smart electric vehicles, has found itself in hot water for its data collection practices. The company’s AI-powered autopilot system has received the dreaded “untrustworthy AI” ding, a rarity in the tech world. With reports linking it to 17 fatalities and 736 accidents, Tesla’s autopilot system is under the microscope of multiple government investigations. This alarming situation highlights the potential dangers lurking beneath the hood of smart cars and calls for robust oversight and accountability in the industry.

Nissan and Kia: Crossing the Line into the Intimate

Nissan and Kia are not exempt from the data privacy dilemma. Nissan’s data collection practices have earned it a second-to-last spot on the privacy watchlist for its invasive profiling, including the categorization of your “sexual activity.” Kia, too, raises eyebrows by mentioning that they can collect information about your “sex life” in their privacy policy. These revelations emphasize the need for clearer regulations and greater transparency in the data collection policies of car companies.


The rise of smart cars has ushered in a new era of personalized driving experiences. However, it has also brought to light a dark underbelly of data collection practices that threaten our privacy and security. Telematics, connected services, and external data sources create a formidable web of information that car companies use to build detailed profiles of their users. The recent controversies surrounding Tesla, Nissan, and Kia highlight the urgency of reining in these data practices.

Because of that, it’s important that consumers are informed, vigilant, and demand transparency and accountability from car manufacturers. The collection of our deepest secrets should not be a hidden feature of the vehicles we entrust with our lives. It’s time for the automotive industry to put the brakes on invasive data collection and put the power back in the hands of those who matter most: the drivers.


  • Tristan

    Tristan has a strong interest in the intersection of artificial intelligence and creative expression. He has a background in computer science, and he enjoys exploring the ways in which AI can enhance and augment human creativity. In his writing, he often delves into the ways in which AI is being used to generate original works of fiction and poetry, as well as to analyze and understand patterns in existing texts.