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Self-spying cars

TECHNOLOGY | Automakers fail consumer privacy test

Illustration by Krieg Barrie

Self-spying cars
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A new study from the Mozilla Foundation, which advocates for online privacy, revealed that most major automakers sell personal information their cars ­collect on drivers. The organization examined the privacy notices of 25 car companies and found they all collect more personal data than necessary to operate their vehicles.

Since 2017, Mozilla has studied and rated the privacy features of products and apps. This year, cars received the worst score among over a dozen product categories, ranking below fitness trackers and smart home appliances.

The study found 19 companies say they can sell personal data, and 14 say they can share data with the government or law enforcement agencies without a court order.

In a letter to Congress, the trade group Alliance for Automotive Innovation said inconsistent state ­privacy laws make it difficult for manufacturers to comply. The organization, which represents nearly all carmakers in America, called for a federal privacy law to establish clear guidelines.

Spokesman Brian Weiss said the group has concerns about letting customers opt out of data collection. But it does support giving them more control over how third parties use that data.


The U.S. Department of Justice and a group of state attorneys general are suing Alphabet’s Google for allegedly holding an anticompetitive monopoly over the search market. The 10-week antitrust trial kicked off nearly three years after the DOJ filed its complaint.

U.S. District Judge Amit Mehta is presiding over the case in Washington, D.C. Prominent tech leaders including Google CEO Sundar Pichai and Apple CEO Tim Cook are set to testify.

The U.S. government argues Google harms consumers by limiting options for online search tools. Google comes preinstalled on many devices as the primary search application. Google says its search engine is more widely used because ­consumers prefer it over other options. The ­company will likely argue its default browser contracts are not exclusive.

If the company loses the case, the government could impose ­penalties to reduce its alleged monopoly. —L.C.

Jaap Arriens/NurPhoto/Getty Images

TikTok moves data out of China

The social media platform has opened its first data center in Europe, where it plans to store European user information. TikTok created the Dublin facility in response to concerns about the Chinese government accessing user data. ByteDance, the Chinese firm that owns TikTok, also plans to open locations in Norway and the United States. And it hired a third-party security company to audit its work at the data center. —L.C.

Lauren Canterberry

Lauren Canterberry is a reporter for WORLD. She graduated from the World Journalism Institute and the University of Georgia with a degree in journalism, both in 2017. She worked as a local reporter in Texas and now lives in Georgia with her husband.


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