Judge Says It’s Ok If Car Manufacturers Can Read and Record Your Private Text Messages

smart car infotainment system

A depressing end to a class action lawsuit will see some of the biggest car manufacturers get away with recording and intercepting their customer’s private messages and call logs.

A class action suit against Honda, Toyota, Volkswagen and General Motors alleged that those car manufacturers used the cars’ on-board infotainment systems to record and intercept drivers’ call logs and private text messages.

From a The Record report:

“In an example of the issues at stake, plaintiffs in one of the five cases filed suit against Honda in 2021, arguing that beginning in at least 2014 infotainment systems in the company’s vehicles began downloading and storing a copy of all text messages on smartphones when they were connected to the system.

An Annapolis, Maryland-based company, Berla Corporation, provides the technology to some car manufacturers but does not offer it to the general public, the lawsuit said. Once messages are downloaded, Berla’s software makes it impossible for vehicle owners to access their communications and call logs but does provide law enforcement with access, the lawsuit said.”

Unfortunately, the Seattle-based appellate judge ruled against the suit. He said that the practice does not meet the threshold for an illegal privacy violation under state law, because the plaintiffs couldn’t prove that “his or her business, his or her person, or his or her reputation”, as the law states, was threatened.

The same outlet previously reported how car makers are selling driver data and telemetry from infotainment systems to advertisers, in order to boost their bottom line.
This older infographic shows the type of data a car manufacturer has about the driver and their vehicle – and things are probably worse now.

Also read: Man Kidnapped By His Malfunctioning, Brand New Electric Car Had to Smash Into Police Van

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