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    Connected cars are a “privacy nightmare,” Mozilla Foundation says / ArsTechnica · Wednesday, 6 September - 15:41

the interior of a car with a lot of networking icons overlayed on the image

Enlarge / Your car's maker can collect data on you from many different sources. (credit: Getty Images)

Today, the Mozilla Foundation published its analysis of how well automakers handle the privacy of data collected by their connected cars, and the results will be unlikely to surprise any regular reader of Ars Technica. The researchers were horrified by their findings , stating that "cars are the worst product category we have ever reviewed for privacy."

Mozilla looked at 25 car brands and found that all of them collected too much personal data, and from multiple sources—monitoring not just which buttons you push or what you do in any of the infotainment system's apps but also data from other sources like satellite radio or third-party maps. Or even when you connect your phone—remember that prompt asking you if you wanted to share all your contacts and notes with your car when you connected it via Bluetooth?

While some gathered data seems innocuous or even helpful—feedback to improve cabin ergonomics and UIs, for example—some data is decidedly not.

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    In-car subscriptions are not popular with new car buyers, survey shows / ArsTechnica · Friday, 24 March, 2023 - 14:11

Detail of a woman touching with her finger a car's touch screen

Enlarge / In-car subscription services are being pushed on a hesitant customer base, according to a new survey. (credit: Getty Images)

The last decade or so has seen the creeping techification of the auto industry. Executives will tell you the trend is being driven by consumers, starry-eyed at their smartphones and tablets, although the 2018 backup camera law is the main reason there's a display in every new car.

But automakers have been trying to adopt more than just shiny gadgets and iterating software releases. They also want some of that lucrative "recurring revenue" that so pleases tech investors but makes the rest of us feel nickeled and dimed . Now we have some concrete data on just how much car buyers are asking for this stuff, courtesy of a new survey from AutoPacific . The answer is "very little."

AutoPacific asked people looking to buy a new vehicle about their interest in 11 different in-car connected features, starting with a data plan for the car for a hypothetical price of $15/month.

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    Massachusetts to vote on mandatory open access for connected cars / ArsTechnica · Wednesday, 19 August, 2020 - 15:03

Should there be a single industry-wide, open-access, two-way platform for your car

Enlarge / Should there be a single industry-wide, open-access, two-way platform for your car's mechanical systems? A ballot question in Massachusetts says yes. (credit: Jovanmandic/Getty Images)

In 2013, voters in Massachusetts passed a law that requires car manufacturers to sell diagnostic software to third-party repair shops. It was the first automotive "right to repair" law in the country and was a response to the escalating trend of automakers blocking access to vehicle diagnostic data to everyone other than their respective franchised repair networks. This year, campaigners are returning to the ballot box to expand the state law to now include any wireless (or telematic) data.

Part of Massachusetts' existing right to repair law requires, from model year 2018 onward, that every vehicle has "a non-proprietary vehicle interface device"—invariably an OBDII port—by which owners and independent garages can access diagnostic information.

But the auto industry is going wireless. Unlike in the European Union , there's no federal requirement for an embedded modem in every new vehicle, but it's still becoming hard to buy a new car or truck that doesn't have some form of onboard connectivity and the ability to communicate with home when it's in distress .

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