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Data Security: Nissan vehicles tracking drivers’ intimate personal details as cars become ‘privacy nightmare’ –Report

2023 Nissan Maxima Car Photo: Top Gear

*Nissan, the Japanese car manufacturer, has become almost everyone’s worst privacy nightmare, as the car brand owners are gathering, sharing, and selling vast amounts of consumers’ ‘most private and sensitive’ information, including your medical information, genetic information, ‘sex life’, how fast you drive to where you drive, says report

Gbenga Kayode | ConsumerConnect

Recent research by the Mozilla Foundation, covering 173 gadgets, apps, and cars, has revealed that ‘digital privacy is not the case’ as Nissan cars particulalrly, have kept gathering vast amounts of consumers’ personal data in 2023.

ConsumerConnect learnt the Foundation’s research team, christened “Privacy Not Included”, had been conducting privacy research since 2017.

Compared to the results of previous years, the overall security of digital products increased, with many using encryption and providing automatic software updates.

However, in spite of these exciting results, privacy is off the table for several products, and 2023 has been the worst of years in terms of data protection, CyberNews report said.

The report stated: “Many companies now view their hardware or software as a means to an end – collecting that coveted personal data for targeted advertising and training AI (Artificial Intelligence).”

Among the worst for privacy that researchers identified include Nissan cars, smart watches for kids (Gizmo Watch and Watch Kids 4 Pro), BetterHelp health app, and Amazon’s Echo studio, report noted.

Amercian cars worst in data privacy violations, says report

Americans’ cars now have the ‘unmatched power to watch, listen and collect information about what you do and where you go,’ a new study said.

The Mozilla Foundation also found at least 84 percent of 25 car brands studied have the power to share or sell the personal data of drivers to to data brokers, law enforcement, and others.

The study stated: “They can collect super intimate information about you — from your medical information, your genetic information, to your ‘sex life’ (seriously), to how fast you drive, where you drive, and what songs you play in your car.”

The Mozilla foundation, which is behind the Firefox browser and works for better online privacy and internet safety, also disclosed cars constitute the worst product they have ever reviewed for privacy concerns, adding vehicles are a ‘privacy nightmare.’

It further discovered that Tesla, Nissan, Hyundai, Cadillac and GMC were the five top  worst automobile manufacturing companies when it came to driver privacy.

A car that knows everything about the driver?

The Japanese car manufacturer has become everyone’s worst privacy nightmare.

It’s gathering vast amounts of personal data, including the most private and sensitive information.

In its privacy policy notice, Nissan’s US branch writes that the company collects and discloses – for business purposes, naturally – the client’s “religious or philosophical beliefs, sexual orientation, sexual activity, precise geolocation, health diagnosis data, and genetic information.”

Besides collecting consumers’ intimate personal details, the car manufacturer leaves itself the right to disclose even more sensitive information to others for targeted marketing purposes.

This includes “inferences drawn from any personal data collected to create a profile about a consumer reflecting the consumer’s preferences, characteristics, psychological trends, predispositions, behaviour, attitudes, intelligence, abilities, and aptitudes.”

The report further indicated that the company could analyse consumers’ personal data, and potentially, infer users’ behaviour and even their levels of intelligence.

Mozilla’s researchers as well stated that there is a high probability that other car companies are also collecting, sharing, and selling similar user data.

Collecting consumers’ data about ‘sex life’ privacy policy.

The report, however, stated apart from the South Korean car manufacturer Kia, which discloses that they collect data about their client’s “sex life” in their privacy policy, other automobile manufacturers are not as precise.

Nissan’s Spokesperson was said to affirmed that the company’s privacy policy is written as broadly as possible to comply with Federal and state laws, and the company does not knowingly collect or disclose consumer information on sexual activity or sexual orientation.

The Spokesperson explained: “Some state laws require us to account for inadvertent data collection or information that could be inferred from other data, such as geolocation.

“Nissan takes privacy and data protection for our consumers and employees very seriously.”

Nissan’s further said: “When we do collect or share personal data, we comply with all applicable laws and provide the utmost transparency.

“Nissan North America’s Privacy Policy incorporates a broad definition of Personal Information and Sensitive Personal Information, as expressly listed in the growing patchwork of evolving state privacy laws in the US, and is inclusive of types of data it may receive through incidental means.”

Further still, Mozilla’s research September 2023 showed that, in total, 25 car brands are extensively gathering user data, and 84 percent of them are using it for targeted marketing and business purposes.

The report stated that at the beginning of the year, Nissan disclosed a data breach that affected close to 18,000 of the company’s clients.

The notice that Nissan sent to affected customers indicated that user data was leaked via a third-party vendor that was providing software development services to the leading automaker.

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