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Car Companies Collecting Drivers' Location Data

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Jan. 9, 2014—AOL Autos reported on Tuesday that car companies are collecting and keeping data on the locations of drivers.

The data, collected through navigation functions and on-board location services, is being stored for undetermined lengths of time—and, according to the report, car companies haven’t explained why.

The United States Government Accountability Office (GAO) release_notesd a report on Monday called “In-Car Location-Based Services: Companies Are Taking Steps to Protect Privacy, but Some Risks May Not Be Clear to Consumers.” It details the companies need to provide motorists with information on how and why such data is being collected and stored.

The report, written after a 10-month period of examination of 10 companies, had a number of conclusions with some of the most important ones listed below:

- Companies disclose that they collect data, but in a broad tone. Five of the companies did not describe the purpose for sharing location data.

- Consumers have some control over location data collection, but cannot request deletion of collected data.

-Each company retains location data for various lengths of time, and there are risks that the data may be used in unintended ways.

U.S. Sen. Al Franken (D-Minnesota) requested the review and chairs a congressional subcommittee on privacy, technology, and the law. In light of the data, Franken has said he will reintroduce legislation on location privacy later this year.

Ford, General Motors, Chrysler, Nissan, Honda, Toyota, Garmin, TomTom, Google Maps and Telenav were the companies included in the review.

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