Data Monsters? Connected Cars infographic, analysis

Connected cars are the next big thing. But they invade your privacy, report your data, and can be hacked. David Michaelis reports. — As smart, connected cars become the new normal, critics and security watchdogs are closely monitoring developments with security and privacy concerns in mind.

“Cars must not become a data monster,”  Volkswagen CEO Martin Winterkorn said at the start of the CeBit 2014 trade show in Germany. He said car makers already protect drivers from hydroplaning, fatigue and traffic.

But, he said, they must also protect against government misuse of data. Wintercorn added:

I clearly say yes to Big Data … yes to greater security and convenience … but no to paternalism and Big Brother …”

Wintercorn called for a voluntary commitment from the car industry to protect customer data and said his company stands ready to join such an effort.

Smarter Does Not Mean More Secure

Before smart cars, drivers merely had to worry about driving safely, following the rules of the road and maintaining their vehicle.

Smart vehicle owners today have a host of other issues to consider. Specifically, that means IT security. Automotive companies are competing for our business, just like social media sites, and they will continue to look for ways to set their vehicles apart for consumers.

Enter the connected car.

First introduced in luxury vehicles, these cars offer features that make driving more enjoyable and more convenient, too. Most provide Bluetooth connectivity, GPS dash display and LTE abilities.

And that’s just the beginning. Yet all buyers should remind themselves that smart cars and the convenience such tech offers does not equal safety.

Italian Electric Car

Italian electric car. Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons

Scroll below for the  connected vehicles infographic. It outlines the security risks new features in connected cars introduce and has protection tips for vehicle owners and manufacturers.

Drivers’ Privacy

While auto companies are engineering full steam ahead, politicians in the U.S. are paying increasing attention to smart car security and privacy issues.

U.S. Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) said last Sunday that he is calling on the Federal Trade Commission and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to protect drivers’ privacy. He praised the boost in safety that some of the newer technology in vehicles bring. But he also noted that companies are collecting “reams” of data on drivers — potentially in keeping tabs on where you go and even making plans to sell that information. Schumer said:

New technologies being embedded in cars should only be used to make us safer, not as a way to intrude on the privacy of hundreds of millions of drivers without their permission. Cars are smarter than they have ever been, and they will only continue to get smarter as technology continues to evolve at a rapid pace.”

Car makers are tapping smartphone technology to spruce up low-cost mini-cars. They’re trying to get an edge in a market that has grown to account for almost 10 percent of new car sales in austerity-scarred Europe. 

The Opel Adam Rocks, Peugeot 108, Citroen C1 and Toyota Aygo, which all debuted at the Geneva Auto Show on March 4, are available with large multimedia screens that display music libraries or navigation maps as stored on a smartphone.

Such features have already proved to be a big draw for consumers in upmarket models, and are now being added to a new breed of urban runabouts pitched at younger, tech-savvy drivers.

Apple has entered the game as well. It recently unveiled CarPlay, a hands-free technology for car drivers, which will make its debut in Ferrari, Mercedes-Benz and Volvo vehicles.

CarPlay will make it simpler for drivers to make calls, read maps and listen to their music libraries by using swipe gestures or voice activation, much in the way they are used to doing with an Apple iPhone. Android, via large manufactures like Samsung and LG, are entering the car biz, too.

Check the infographic below for stunning stats.

For, I’m David Michaelis.

Based in Australia, David Michaelis is a world-renowned international journalist and founder of Link Tv. At, he covers the global beat, focusing on politics and other international topics of note for our readers in a variety of forums. Email him at

Connected Cars

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