Car companies are collecting data on your sex life, and apparently you’re fine with that

Careful with that exhaust, Eugene…

Graham Cluley
Graham Cluley
@[email protected]

Car companies are collecting data on your sex life, and apparently you're fine with that

It seems modern cars are gobbling up all kinds of data about their drivers including – astonishingly – details of their sex lives.

Take a close look at Nissan’s privacy policy for instance.

Nissan warns that it is prepared to collect your health, genetic, and other sensitive personal information in order to target you with marketing. Oh, and yes… your “sexual activity”.

Nissan sexual activity

Sensitive personal information, including driver’s license number, national or state identification number, citizenship status, immigration status, race, national origin, religious or philosophical beliefs, sexual orientation, sexual activity, precise geolocation, health diagnosis data, and genetic information.

It reserves the rights to disclose and share this information, of course, with all manner of other third parties.

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And it’s not just Nissan.

Here’s part of Kia’s privacy policy – which is interested in your politics and “sex life.”

Kia sex life

7.3.1 Information about your race or ethnicity, religious or philosophical beliefs, sexual orientation, sex life and political opinions;

I am kind of reminded of when Uber bragged it was able to track which of its customers had been on one-night stands (or “Rides of Glory” as Uber called them).

The fact that we continue to buy cars from Nissan, Kia, and other companies with similarly nosey privacy policies suggest many of us have no problem with this at all. It’s that or we simply don’t bother to read privacy policies.

Mozilla’s Privacy Not Included project has done a great job of uncovering just how much of a privacy nightmare modern cars are.

Having read Mozilla’s report, it’s no wonder it describe cars as the worst product category it has ever reviewed for privacy.

Graham Cluley is an award-winning keynote speaker who has given presentations around the world about cybersecurity, hackers, and online privacy. A veteran of the computer security industry since the early 1990s, he wrote the first ever version of Dr Solomon's Anti-Virus Toolkit for Windows, makes regular media appearances, and is the co-host of the popular "Smashing Security" podcast. Follow him on Twitter, Mastodon, Threads, Bluesky, or drop him an email.

2 comments on “Car companies are collecting data on your sex life, and apparently you’re fine with that”

  1. Yav

    This is precisely why I drive an "old" car. This reason exactly! It's astonishing that people don't know this is happening. I knew it years ago (it started with OnStar) and is why I delete, deselect, deactivate, and disable any and all settings when renting these spy-mobiles – I also cover up the cameras and muffle the mics (probably does no good tho as some vehicles won't even give the option to disable). I also avoid taking rides in anyone else's "connected" car. It's terr-i-ble! Just terrible. When there are no "old" cars left, I guess I'll be riding my bike or skateboard.

  2. Adrian

    There's a difference between a privacy policy that says what the company is prepared to collect, and what the car's systems can and do collect, the two seem to be conflated somewhat confusingly in these writeups

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