Cars are the new cell phones

I was recently looking at all of the data cars collect about you and how it is being re-sold and used. Tesla of course would be the worst example, but it is really all manufacturers. Here are some example sites:

I assume this problem will only get worse.
The question is --asuming you need a car – is there anything you can really do about this other than buy a 15-year old car? What can we do to obfuscate, eliminate, or deter this data collection? Thoughts…


Sadly this is where the world is headed.

With the rise of electrical cars due to gas prices, technological advancement and global warming, many electric car manufacturers will be filling their products with spyware.
I personally classify smart cars as “a giant blob of iot devices”, as your car is now your transportation method, toaster, TV, social media platform, fridge… not to mention the location data, sensor data, videos and everything else stored by the car and sent to God knows who.
It’s TERRIBLE for compartmentalization and Privacy.

I would say if you bought a smart car especially a Tesla It’s already too late, because It’s probably better for you to use most of the car’s functionality as not doing so would unfortunately be a waste of a purchase and a big pain in the —

To answer your question:

  • Try to make separated credentials for any car logins and try to not link all of your accounts to the car (eg: a car doesn’t need to be able to login to your instagram)

  • Try to have a separate data plan and alias for your car, use an e-sim and try to mess around with any privacy settings you might find in the car or car’s app.

  • Opt-out of the telemetry data upon setting up the car - although companies will not make this easy on you by removing crucial functionality, voiding warranty or not even actually opting you out (hi Tesla)

  • Check on official websites for any data deletion requests or forms (but I wouldn’t trust that.)

  • Buy an electric car, not a smart car:
    -I personally believe a car should just be a car, so going the old fashioned way is always a good idea. I also think there’s electric cars that aren’t per-say smart cars, meaning the only modification would be replacing the fuel ignition system with an electrical one. I’d think this is the way to go.

Final thoughts

I would really love to see a privacy conscious manufacturer that develops an open source carOS with privacy in mind! Or a specific car that has that OS pre-installed.
However I understand that this will take a while to happen because sadly people still don’t care about privacy, and as in every new project, will not understand the importance of this until it is too late :frowning:


Good points and ideas. It’s definitely a matter to have in mind before a new car purchase…

Seems as if there is a need for FOSS cars.


Yeah, this is geared to be a bigger issue as the automotive industry continues this push on “smartifying” their cars and increasing data collection. I’m not against new tech & innovation in cars, but I would strongly prefer if it didn’t involve any sort of connection to the cloud.

I guess there will always be some way to eliminate the data collection, which is removing connectivity from the car (usually done via cellular). However manufacturers try to hide SIM slots/cellular modems somewhere and it’s not guaranteed to be a long-term solution or even possible to remove in newer cars now.

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Thanks for all the thoughts. THe only thing I did recently was ditch my insurance company for one that doesnt require a ‘monitoring app’ to get a discount. I think with car companies - especially American ones - looking for new sources of revenue and Congress unwilling to provide basic privacy rights - the data resale market is too lucrative for them to pass up.

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