Nissan and Kia can collect and potentially sell data about drivers’ sex lives

Is your car tracking your sex life? Nissan and Kia collect potentially creepy and scary data about drivers' activities.

A damning new report about car manufacturers’ customer privacy and data collection has highlighted how Nissan and Kia say they can potentially collect data about drivers’ sex lives and sexualities and potentially sell it to outside organizations.

The report by non-profit online privacy and AI research organization Mozilla, named Privacy Not Included, said that the car industry presented a “privacy nightmare” for customers, who were likely unaware what they were signing up to when buying a new vehicle.

Nissan’s US privacy notice states that it can collect information about a customer’s “sexual orientation” and “sexual activity”. The company told SEXTECHGUIDE that it does not “knowingly” collect or share consumer data about sexual activity or sexual orientation in the US.

Kia’s US privacy notice says it can collect data about a customer’s “sex life or sexual orientation information”.

With new vehicles now almost always featuring internet-enabled and recording components, from music systems to internal cameras in Teslas, the issue is privacy in car ownership has become more pertinent.

Nissan says it can share and sell “inferences drawn from any Personal Data collected to create a profile about a consumer reflecting the consumer’s preferences, characteristics, psychological trends, predispositions, behavior, attitudes, intelligence, abilities, and aptitudes”. Mozilla called the company’s privacy policy “probably the most mind boggling creepy, scary, sad, messed up privacy policy we have ever read.”

Mozilla added that “if very sensitive personal data they collect on you about your sexual activity, sexual orientation, medical diagnosis, and genetic information were to ever leak, well, that could get embarrassing (and dangerous!) real fast.”

Kia’s privacy policy states that as well as selling personal data, it can share it with government agencies. Mozilla said: “Governments shouldn’t simply be able to ‘request’ people’s precise location data and information about their ‘sex life’.”

SEXTECHGUIDE has contacted Kia and will update this article with any responses.

Nissan told SEXTECHGUIDE that the company “does not knowingly collect or disclose consumer information on sexual activity or sexual orientation.”

The company added: “Nissan takes privacy and data protection for our consumers and employees very seriously. When we do collect or share personal data, we comply with all applicable laws and provide the utmost transparency.”

It continued: “Nissan North America’s Privacy Policy incorporates a broad definition of Personal Information and Sensitive Personal Information, as expressly listed in the growing patchwork of evolving state privacy laws in the U.S., and is inclusive of types of data it may receive through incidental means.”

Mozilla researched 25 car brands in total for the report, finding that all of them collected more personal data than was necessary and that was often not linked to customer and car company relationships.

The organization said: “While we worried that our doorbells and watches that connect to the internet might be spying on us, car brands quietly entered the data business by turning their vehicles into powerful data-gobbling machines. Machines that, because of their all those brag-worthy bells and whistles, have an unmatched power to watch, listen, and collect information about what you do and where you go in your car.”

Tesla topped the chart of the 25 car brands tested by Privacy Not Included, being only the second product to ever, essentially, fail all privacy tests. The first was Replika earlier in 2023.

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Jamie F
Jamie F

Jamie is a freelance writer, contributing to outlets such as The Guardian, The Times, The Telegraph, CNN and Vice, among others. He is also the creative force behind the Audible podcast Beast Master.

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SEXTECHGUIDE, launched in 2016 ahead of the sextech boom, is the go-to online platform for discovering, reviewing, and learning about the fast-paced world of sexual technology. We bridge the gap between sex and technology reporting by focusing on timely news stories, impartial reviews, and thoughtful opinion pieces.
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