Your car knows all about you – your habits, where you like to go and when, and maybe even what sort of temperament you have. Cameras inside cars even track your eyes to see whether you’re watching the road.
If you spent as much time one-on-one with a friend as you do with your car, your friend would know an awful lot about you, too. The difference is that car companies, unlike friends, have a financial incentive for knowing things about you.
“Cars already collect a significant and growing amount of data,” says Teresa Scassa, Canada Research Chair in information law and policy at the University of Ottawa. The car itself is collecting driving data such as speed and braking patterns, but the built-in navigation and entertainment services are also collecting information of a more personal nature, she says. That could include location information, taste in music, voice commands, search history and so forth. Apps such as Waze, Apple CarPlay or Android Auto connected to the vehicle will also be collecting similar data.
New cars have more radar sensors and cameras than a typical smartphone, and the number and quality of those sensors will only increase as cars eventually become capable of driving themselves.