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Will Our Cars Soon Be Spying on Us?

The increasing number of sensors and monitoring devices in new cars is raising the question of how concerned we should be about privacy and data sharing issues from our vehicles [1].

There are many new possibilities arising with adding digital assistants such as Amazon’s Alexa, Apple’s Siri, or Google Assistant to the in-vehicle experience. Users will be able to collect information and perform different tasks through all sorts of connected services.  According to IHS Markit, an estimated 120 million cars will be equipped with voice-recognition systems by 2020. Through this, the cars would be able to get deep insight into drivers’ behaviours and share that information with other actors. It is also probable that automakers will be launching their own systems, and Ed Kim, vice president at automotive research firm AutoPacific, states that: “In the coming years, the battleground will be over user data and the revenue made possible”. Still, even as governments and corporations begin to address security questions, it remains unclear who will control the data that is generated and collected.


Personal comments

Connecting vehicles with its surroundings and monitoring in-vehicle behaviour opens for many useful and interesting new solutions, both linked to actual vehicle use and more unrelated features. For future cars, as well as for today’s phones and other sensor-equipped devices such as smart speakers, key questions are what data should be collected and who should be allowed to access and control it. In addition to clear privacy rules and regulations, there must be transparency for the user on what is collected and what actual added value it provides.


Written by Victor Malmsten Lundgren, RISE Viktoria.



1. 2019-01-24. The spy inside your car