How Smart Car is Probably Tracking You? Automative Data Security Risks

If you drive a smart car, its high-tech, internet-connected systems are likely monitoring your every move. Vehicles with these features typically have telematics systems that track information like location, speed, and driving patterns, as well as GPS systems for navigation. 

Improving the vehicle’s performance, maintenance, and safety features are all possible with this information. There are privacy issues, too, because the data may end up in the hands of other parties like insurance firms, advertising companies, or even the police. 


Managing the privacy settings in your smart car is essential for controlling the information that is tracked and shared.

According to ExpressVPN, there’s a concerning number of car manufacturers that collect data on their drivers, and an impressive 84% of them then share or sell this data.

The Mechanics of Tracking in smart cars

  1. GPS Tracking:

One of the simplest ways that smart cars work is by using GPS technology to determine where the vehicle is at all times. Not only can this be used for navigation, but it can also be stored and used to study habits routes and even find a stolen vehicle.

  1. On-Board Diagnostics (OBD):

These days, most cars have an onboard diagnostics (OBD) port that may gather information on how the automobile runs. Data such as engine temperature, emissions, mileage, and speed are part of this. This data can be utilized to track driving patterns in addition to its primary objective of vehicle maintenance and repair.

3. Telematics Systems:

Further data collecting is achieved via these systems. They integrate GPS data and inputs from various external sensors with data gathered from the vehicle’s internal systems. Telematics systems can keep tabs on everything from fuel economy and tire pressure to real-time engine diagnostics. Sending this data to the manufacturer or an outside service provider for analysis is an option.

4. Infotainment Systems:

Connected to the car’s Wi-Fi network, modern smart cars’ infotainment systems can sync with your smartphone, allowing access to your contacts, call logs, text messages, app usage data, media preferences, and internet browsing history.

5. Wireless Communication Systems:

Wireless networking technologies like Wi-Fi and Bluetooth are standard in modern smart vehicles. These systems link the car with other networks and devices, making data transfer easier. For data tracking and transfer in real-time, this link is needed.

6. Cameras and Sensors:

For safety features like parking aids, lane departure warnings, and collision avoidance, many smart cars come with cameras and sensors. These cameras and sensors can also gather the vehicle’s location and other environmental data.

Why Smart Cars Track Data

1. Enhanced Navigation and Traffic Management:

Smart automobiles collect data such as location, speed, and route history to provide real-time navigation help. Estimated arrival times, route optimization, and avoiding traffic jams are all possible with this data. Better traffic management and urban planning are made possible by analyzing traffic patterns by collecting data from numerous cars.

2. Vehicle Maintenance and Performance Monitoring

Vehicle performance data tracking aids preventative maintenance by providing information on engine health, tire pressure, and fuel efficiency. Avoiding breakdowns and extending the vehicle’s life can be achieved by early diagnosis of possible concerns. Car companies also utilize this data to determine what customers want and how to improve their vehicles in the future.

3. Safety Features and Emergency Services

The enhanced safety measures in smart automobiles rely on data tracking. Adaptive cruise control, lane-keeping assistance, and automatic braking depend on data analysis and sensors to work correctly. Certain smart automobiles can save lives by instantly alerting emergency personnel of their precise location in the event of an accident.

4. Development of Autonomous Vehicles

Data collection is essential to building and improving autonomous vehicle technology. Real-world driving data is essential to train machine learning algorithms to make better driving decisions, which leads to fully autonomous vehicles.

5. Regulatory Compliance and Environmental Concerns:

Compliance with many regulatory standards, especially those related to fuel efficiency and emissions, is ensured by the data collected by smart automobiles. Reducing carbon footprints through more efficient driving patterns is one example of how this data is utilized to improve environmental performance.

6. Market Research and Consumer Insights

Vehicle data is utilized for market research purposes by automakers and related businesses. Future products and services can better adapt to market demands when we better understand consumer preferences and behavior.

The Dark Side of Data Collection in Smart Cars

1. Privacy Invasion:

Location, driving patterns, and even entertainment choices are just a few pieces of personal data that smart automobiles gather in plenty. The ability to create comprehensive profiles based on an individual’s routines and activities raises serious concerns about potential invasions of privacy.

2. Cybersecurity Threats

Data collecting in smart cars is made possible by their connection, making them hackable. Cybersecurity breaches can result in unauthorized access to personal data or hackers taking control of the auto systems and causing major safety risks.

3. Lack of Transparency and Consent:

Vehicle owners are only sometimes informed about data collection, usage, and disclosure scope. Some worry that manufacturers need to be more straightforward, while others wonder how to get consumers’ meaningful agreement for data collecting.

4. Data Ownership Issues

There is some uncertainty concerning the ownership of the data gathered by smart automobiles. Owners, manufacturers, or third-party service providers are at odds over who should be considered the rightful owners of a particular car. This makes one wonder what happens to this data when used or sold, frequently without the owner’s knowledge or consent.

5. Potential for Misuse

Unwanted uses of the data include, for example, using it to raise insurance premiums based on a driver’s history or, more worrisome, secretly monitoring and identifying the motorist.

6. Dependency and Skill Erosion

Drivers’ reliance on smart technology for navigation and driving decisions could lead to a decline in their ability to handle the wheel safely. If technology malfunctions or when manual driving is necessary, this reliance could pose a concern.

1. Data Privacy and Protection:

Data protection laws, such as GDPR and CCPA, require smart car makers and service providers to adhere to the letter of the law. Responsible handling of user data, including location, driving habits, and preferences, is paramount. 

 2. Liability in Autonomous Driving:

Determining fault in accidents gets more complicated when smart cars include autonomous technologies. There should be well-defined legal frameworks to determine who is at fault: the driver, the automaker, or the software engineer. This poses the ethical question of how trustworthy AI decision-making is and how we can be sure all systems are secure and well-tested.

3. Cybersecurity Risks: 

There is an ethical need on the part of manufacturers to employ strong security measures to protect consumers from data breaches and unauthorized vehicle control and a legal requirement for strong cybersecurity standards to protect consumers from hacking in smart cars.

4. Consent and User Control:

Users should be able to easily choose whether or not to participate in data collecting, as this gives them a sense of agency and respects their right to privacy. Since consumer protection laws grant consumers control over their personal information and require explicit authorization for data gathering, this aligns with those regulations.

5. Algorithmic Bias and Discrimination:

Autonomous driving and traffic navigation are two smart car functionalities that frequently depend on algorithms. From a legal standpoint, ensuring these algorithms don’t unintentionally target specific user categories illegally is essential. Addressing any biases in AI systems is crucial from an ethical perspective to avoid unfair decisions or conclusions, particularly in vital safety-related situations.


In the end, smart cars pose serious privacy risks due to the vast amounts of data they gather despite their unmatched convenience and improved safety features. 

There are concerns around data security, consent, and privacy arising from the information collected, which includes tracking locations and monitoring driving behaviors. 

Our consumers are responsible for staying informed about these concerns and fighting for more control and transparency over personal data. At the same time, lawmakers and manufacturers must collaborate to balance smart car technology’s advantages and strong protections for personal information. Moving forward, it is imperative to approach these obstacles with consideration and integrity.

Work done by a Team Of Security Experts from Cyber Writes ( - World’s First Dedicated Content-as-a-Service (CaaS) Platform for Cybersecurity. For Exclusive Cyber Security Contents, Reach at: [email protected]