Research by the Mozilla Foundation, covering 173 gadgets, apps, and cars, reveals that digital privacy is not the case in 2023.
The Foundation’s research team, named *Privacy Not Included, has been conducting privacy research since 2017. Compared to the results of previous years, the overall security of digital products increased, with many using encryption and providing automatic software updates.
Sadly, however, privacy is off the table for many products, and 2023 has been the worst of years in terms of data protection.
“Many companies now view their hardware or software as a means to an end – collecting that coveted personal data for targeted advertising and training AI,” reads the report.
Among the worst for privacy that researchers identified include: smart watches for kids (Gizmo Watch and Watch Kids 4 Pro), BetterHelp health app, Amazon’s Echo studio, and Nissan cars.
A car that knows everything
The Japanese car manufacturer has become everyone’s worst privacy nightmare. It’s gathering vast amounts of personal data, including the most private and sensitive information.
On top of collecting intimate personal details, the car manufacturer leaves itself the right to disclose even more sensitive information to others for targeted marketing purposes.
This includes "inferences drawn from any personal data collected to create a profile about a consumer reflecting the consumer’s preferences, characteristics, psychological trends, predispositions, behavior, attitudes, intelligence, abilities, and aptitudes." So, the company can analyze users’ personal data and potentially infer users' behavior and even their levels of intelligence.
Mozilla’s research in September revealed that, in total, 25 car brands are extensively gathering user data, and 84% of them are using it for targeted marketing and business purposes. At the beginning of the year, Nissan disclosed a data breach that affected close to 18,000 of the company’s clients. According to the notice that Nissan sent to affected customers, user data was leaked via a third-party vendor that was providing software development services to the automaker.
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