Data Security, Governance, Risk and Compliance, Privacy

FTC urged to probe automakers’ location data sharing practices

The United States Capitol building is seen at sunrise in Washington

The Federal Trade Commission has been sought by Sens. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., and Ed Markey, D-Mass., to launch an investigation into major automakers' driver location data sharing practices after a congressional probe showed that only five of 14 car manufacturers required warrants or court orders before allowing law enforcement access to such data, according to The Record, a news site by cybersecurity firm Recorded Future.

Such an investigation revealed that only subpoenas have been required by Toyota, Nissan, Kia, Subaru, Volkswagen, Mazda, BMW, and Mercedes-Benz for government agencies seeking the location data of their customers, with Volkswagen emphasizing a warrant requirement for over a week's worth of location information, said the senators in a letter to the FTC.

"Automakers have not only kept consumers in the dark regarding their actual practices, but multiple companies misled consumers for over a decade by failing to honor the industry's own voluntary privacy principles," the senators wrote.

However, automakers' admissions regarding their vehicle location data sharing practices have been refuted by the Alliance for Automotive Innovation, which insisted that such information is only provided with a warrant, court order, or an imminent threat to individuals.

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