automotive industry

‘Privacy nightmare on wheels’ as 25 car brands reviewed by Mozilla get failing marks

Victor Barreiro Jr.

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‘Privacy nightmare on wheels’ as 25 car brands reviewed by Mozilla get failing marks

Mozilla Foundation

Mozilla finds that some car brands also collect medical data and data on sexual activity, adding that cars represent the worst product category it has reviewed for privacy

A report released by the nonprofit Mozilla Foundation on Wednesday, September 6, found cars to have the worst user privacy practices.

As part of its Privacy Not Included series of reports, Mozilla looked at 25 car brands to check for issues with how they handle data and privacy. These included Ford, Toyota, Nissan, Kia, and Tesla, to name a few.

As a result of all 25 of the car brands receiving failing marks, Mozilla categorically said cars were “the official worst category of products for privacy that we have ever reviewed.”

According to the report, Mozilla researchers claimed to have spent some 600 hours poring over privacy policies, downloading apps, and corresponding with car brands spanning the United States, Germany, Japan, France, and South Korea. 

The car brands failed to meet minimum privacy standards as outlined in Mozilla’s methodology, and also tended to collect more personal data than was necessary. Aside from driving data, some brands collected other sorts of personal information, such as medical data or, in the case of Kia and Nissan, allowing the potential collection of information about the user’s sex life.

As for the worst offender among the 25 car brands, Mozilla said it was Nissan, adding the car brand “admits in their privacy policy to collecting a wide range of information, including sexual activity, health diagnosis data, and genetic data — but doesn’t specify how. They say they can share and sell consumers’ ‘preferences, characteristics, psychological trends, predispositions, behavior, attitudes, intelligence, abilities, and aptitudes’ to data brokers, law enforcement, and other third parties.”

More information on this report can be found in the Mozilla Foundation’s blogpost on the topic. Meanwhile, individual reviews of each car brand in the report can be found on this homepage. –

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Victor Barreiro Jr.

Victor Barreiro Jr is part of Rappler's Central Desk. An avid patron of role-playing games and science fiction and fantasy shows, he also yearns to do good in the world, and hopes his work with Rappler helps to increase the good that's out there.