Your car can store a ton of your personal information
One of the first things most people do after purchasing a new vehicle is to hook up their smartphone to the vehicle’s infotainment system. This allows the user to make and receive hands-free calls while on the move, listen to their own music or playlists and project their navigation on Google or Apple maps on the infotainment screen, among others. But while pairing a smartphone with a vehicle can be convenient, it can also leave behind personal information that could be collected by law enforcement.
According to a new report from Interception, US Customs and Border Protection recently purchased five Berla iVe “auto forensics kits” from a Swedish data mining company called MSAB. A CBP document viewed by The Intercept says the technology will be important to the organization’s investigations “because it can provide evidence regarding the use of the vehicle, but also information obtained through mobile devices associated with the infotainment system. . ” Simply put, this technology allows law enforcement to not only extract and examine data relating to the vehicle’s location and GPS usage, but also data from any smartphones that have been paired. to the infotainment system of this vehicle.
“Vehicle systems store a large amount of data such as recent destinations, preferred locations, call logs, contact lists, SMS messages, emails, photos, videos, social networks and browsing history from wherever the vehicle has been, ”says MSAB of iVe forensics kits. “Many systems record events such as when and where a vehicle’s lights are on, and what doors are opened and closed in specific locations. Analyzing vehicle data will answer key investigators’ questions and change the course of an investigation. “
According to the MSAB website, iVe technology is compatible with Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet and GMC vehicles. It is also compatible with virtually all other major vehicle brands on sale in the United States, including Ford / Lincoln and all Stellantis / FCA brands.
Many will find the capability of this technology unsurprisingly in today’s data-driven world, but it can offer law enforcement a legal workaround when it comes to the public’s personal information and telephone data. The Supreme Court has ruled that telephone data relates to a person’s Fourth Amendment law, which prohibits unreasonable searches and seizures, but the issue of vehicle infotainment system data has yet to be decided by the High Court. This means that infotainment system data, which can range from text messages to vehicle speed logs, could be a fair game for agencies like CBP for now. Many vehicle owners are unaware that their vehicle also downloads a lot of their personal information, which could make the public more prone to harvest attempts like this.
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