Today, Senator Ed Markey (D-MA) sent letters to Ford Motor Company and 13 other automobile manufacturers. The letters request answers to key questions about their data collection practices, and also urge strong privacy protections for consumers.
Senator Markey’s letter follows Mozilla’s recent *Privacy Not Included guide focused on cars. The research found major privacy concerns with all 25 car brands we reviewed.
“A recent report from Mozilla revealed unfettered data collection and privacy intrusions across huge swaths of the automobile industry,” Senator Markey writes in his letters. “These business practices must end.”
Senator Markey also requests that automakers answer several detailed questions about what data they are collecting, how they use it, and what protections they do or do not offer consumers. The Senator has given companies until December 21 to respond.
We are encouraged to see more lawmakers turning their attention toward the opaque privacy practices of the automotive industry. For example, the California Privacy Protection Agency recently announced plans to review connected cars for privacy concerns. The growing surveillance capabilities in and around cars, coupled with a lack of oversight, have made modern cars a “privacy nightmare on wheels.” We are hopeful these letters will start pushing the industry toward protecting the privacy of consumers, and minimize unnecessary or harmful collection practices.
We are encouraged to see more lawmakers turning their attention toward the opaque privacy practices of the automotive industry.
Ashley Boyd, Senior Vice President, Mozilla
Mozilla is taking similar actions itself. On November 16, 2023, we sent a letter to regulators at the Department of Transportation and the Federal Trade Commission encouraging urgent action to protect consumers’ privacy behind the wheel.