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As Automakers Tap Smartphone Technology, Concerns Grow About Use Of Drivers' Data

Publication Date: 
January 09, 2014
The Washington Post
Cecilia Kang and Michael Fletcher

CIS Fellow Bryant Walker Smith comments on the possibility of adverstisers obtaining data from smartphone-integrated car dashboards for The Washington Post. 

These days, your driving habits are largely a secret held between you and your car.

Very soon, your car may become a blabbermouth.

A series of deals announced this week between technology firms such as Google and automakers is bringing services previously aimed at smartphones right into the dash of cars that connect directly to the Web.


“As with cellphones, what private companies do with that data and what government does with that data can be pretty shocking. People are vaguely aware of it, but most people don’t seem to care in terms of modifying their personal behavior,” said Bryant Walker Smith, a fellow at the Center for Automotive Research at Stanford University and a lecturer at Stanford Law School.


“If you are a business that provides services to someone in that car, you have a captive audience for an hour a day,” Smith said. “Think about how much anybody would like to have a captive marketing audience for an hour a day. It is a gold mine.”