Modern cars and vans are packed with cutting-edge technology designed to make the driving experience even more enjoyable. Most new vehicles come standard with navigation devices, entertainment systems and even built-in Wi-Fi hotspots.
Some of these features also take into account driving experience and driving habits, which can be helpful in monitoring vehicle performance.
Features such as navigation devices can be used to provide guidance at traffic junctions, especially when someone is consistently driving the same route.
With this in mind, motorists are warned that if they don’t take precautions, they run the risk of leaving behind sensitive information when swapping or selling their car.
So-called “connected cars” work in a similar way to smartphones – they collect information about the owner and their habits in order to improve the user experience.
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“This potentially sensitive information could be accessed not only by the vehicle’s new owner, but also by complete strangers if they decide to sell the infotainment system.
“As such, I would urge drivers to factory reset anything capable of collecting data before handing over the vehicle to ensure everything is wiped clean.”
Vehicle manufacturers go to great lengths to protect this, investing huge sums in cybersecurity while using “hashing” or sophisticated encryption to protect the data.
But if it falls into the wrong hands, it could potentially be used against you in a variety of increasingly complex scams.
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Select Car Leasing has also analyzed the top 20 UK car manufacturers and their privacy policies.
German giant Volkswagen topped the list, tracking 18 out of 22 potential categories of information about its drivers.
This includes not only basic customer data such as name and address, but also vehicle location, voice recordings of voice commands and even social media profiles.
EV pioneer Tesla is in second place with Japanese manufacturer Nissan, both tracking 17 different data types.
Tesla is known for the data its vehicles collect with external sensors and cameras, but they can also record inside their vehicles by capturing images and video with a camera in the rearview mirror.
This happens in the event of an accident, while autopilot data can also be logged.
Mr Conway said: “This shows how much of your personal data can be collected.
“But besides factory data reset, there are a few other steps you can take when selling or returning a vehicle.
“You can opt out of many different types of data collection by not providing your consent when you first receive your vehicle.
“If you already own it, update your marketing and data preferences directly with the automaker and through their associated mobile apps.”