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California agency investigating privacy policies of auto manufacturers

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California agency investigating privacy policies of auto manufacturers

The California Privacy Protection Agency’s (CPPA) Enforcement Division is reviewing the data privacy practices of connected vehicle (CV) manufacturers and related CV technologies, the agency announced on Monday. 

Vehicles under review have features such as location sharing, web-based entertainment, and smartphone integration and cameras.

 The CPPA declined comment to FOX Business on which vehicle manufacturers were targeted, saying, “We’re not able to disclose which companies received letters.”

The pilot panel of a Tesla Model S, the newest model of the S series of the American multinational automotive and clean energy company, equipped to work as a police car with vehicle registration plate fast reading and detection, exhibited during the

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According to the CPPA, “data privacy considerations are critical because these vehicles often automatically gather consumers’ locations, personal preferences, and details about their daily lives.”

“Modern vehicles are effectively connected computers on wheels,” CPPA’s executive director Ashkan Soltani said.

Traffic in Berkely, California.  (Jessica Christian/The San Francisco Chronicle via Getty Image / Getty Images)

“They’re able to collect a wealth of information via built-in apps, sensors, and cameras, which can monitor people both inside and near the vehicle,” she continued. “Our Enforcement Division is making inquiries into the connected vehicle space to understand how these companies are complying with California law when they collect and use consumers’ data.”

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Data compiled by the CPPA showed the state has more than 35 million registered vehicles, with even more sharing the roads from other states. 

“The sheer number of vehicles makes it an area that affects all Californians who drive, ride-share, or even walk near a car equipped with these technologies,” the CPPA said in a statement.

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Meanwhile, regulators around the world have raised concerns about the volume of personal data collected by vehicles that increasingly gather, store and transmit information for entertainment, performance and safety purposes.

Despite the concerns, the Dutch Data Protection Authority said on Wednesday it would not fine Tesla over possible privacy violations after the U.S. carmaker made changes to vehicle security cameras.

In January and drawing on Stellantis’ connected vehicles, the Chrysler-subsidiary created a new unit called Mobilisights for licensing data to a wide range of customers, including rival carmakers, which are expected to reach 34 million by 2030.

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Mobilisights said it would operate under strict privacy safeguards, sharing only personal data with customer consent and allowing owners to opt out even after consenting.

Reuters contributed to this report.

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