The Washington Post, as part of an investigate report, worked with a hacker to figure out what kind of information OnStar is collecting (and what data is stored in your car) on a randomly selected 2017 Chevy Volt. This of course is not specific to Chevy, or its Volt model, but most of the cars on the road are collecting data about us and from us, that gets stored on the vehicle, in our navigation system and sometimes sent directly back to the car’s manufacturer. If your car has on-board internet connectivity capability, your car is collecting data about you -a lot of data.
During this investigation, the hacker determined that the car was collecting details about where the car was driving, where it was parked, call logs, identification information from the connected phone and contact information from the phone as well (including contacts’ addresses, emails and even photos). Some of the information/entertainment systems in these connected cars maintain very personal information (even text message conversations or photos), in addition to information like where your favorite coffee shop is located or which radio stations you frequent.
Consumers should consider this type of data collection when selling their vehicles, using loaners or renting a car in which they decide to pair their phones and other devices. Remember to wipe the system clean before selling your car or returning a rental because you never know who might get their hands on that data down the road. Check out an app called “Privacy4Cars” which assists you deleting data from cars you use but don’t own.