Four out of five car owners have unwittingly given away personal data when selling their car, according to a survey by consumer watchdog, Which?
79% of 14,000 drivers interviewed said they did not correctly return their car to its factory settings before selling it. By syncing a phone to their car, it is likely that the contacts and other information on it could be passed to subsequent owners.
Whether the phone is connected via Bluetooth or a USB cable, modern cars can store a wide range of information from a phone including text and email messages, account details and sensitive data. Manufacturers provide instructions on how to remove this information by returning their car to its factory settings before the car is sold, but only 21% of people surveyed said they followed the instructions correctly. 31% of people took no action at all to remove any data while more than half failed to unsync their devices.
Editor of Which?, Harry Rose, says vehicles are increasingly as technologically powerful as computers. "If cars are not treated the same as a smartphone, tablet or other connected devices when it comes to data security, motorists risk giving away a treasure trove of information about themselves when they decide to sell their car,” he said.
“Manufacturers must do much more to prioritise customers’ personal privacy so that drivers fully understand how much data their vehicle could be harbouring and how to delete this information in order to eradicate these risks.”
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