GM dropping spyware, adding privacy officer

Following a controversy over sharing customer data with third parties, GM announced in March that it would stop sharing location and other information with two data brokers. Many were skeptical of GM’s announcement, partly because it was quite specific about dropping LexisNexis and Verisk, which meant the company could simply switch to other brokers.  (The United States, unlike the European Union, has virtually no privacy laws except those which cover minors (which are limited) and health information.)

chevy spies

Today, GM announced that it was dropping the “Smart Driver” system, which made vehicle telematics information available to third parties; creating new privacy controls with higher transparency and customer control; and creating a new position of Chief [Trust and] Privacy Officer. The first CPO (not to be confused with a Chief Petty Officer) will be Alisia Bergman, formerly of Fanatics, Adobe, and Warner Bros.

GM is not the only company to sell or share customer data, and most tracking is out of the hands of customers, coming from cell providers (via their phones) or networks of automated license plate readers, which sell realtime car location information to whomever wants it. Other companies generally don’t have clear policies on data sharing, creating what the Mozilla Foundation called a “privacy nightmare” after they conducted a study of major automakers including Stellantis (which flunked the privacy test).

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