Your Taycan does not know when you're going to have sex.
Porsche has released a statement regarding the high standards it sets for digital privacy. This follows shortly after BMW stated that it does not sell customers' in-car personal information. Why would two high-profile manufacturers release such statements in short succession?
It all started with Mozilla's Privacy Not Included survey, the results of which were published roughly 10 days ago. The automotive industry scored poorly, and all the brands surveyed received Mozilla's "Privacy Not Included" warning label. BMW was part of the survey, but Porsche was not. To be fair, BMW was the least worst out of all the brands sold in the USA, while Tesla was the worst. Some brands even admitted to gathering data about their owners' sexual activity.
As you can imagine, this sparked a bit of an outrage, and Porsche is obviously trying to get ahead of it.
According to Porsche, customer-focused privacy is essential. To that end, it has created a new Privacy Center in the My Porsche portal, which gives owners a dedicated space where they can choose what they want to share and for what.
"When it comes to privacy, our customers expect information that is easy to understand and clearly organized. With the Porsche Privacy Center in the My Porsche portal, all data approvals can be easily viewed," said Robert Ader, Chief Marketing Officer at Porsche. "Granting consent is simple and user-friendly."
"The Privacy Center provides transparency on the shared data. It is the next consistent step in implementing our privacy strategy, which is part of the company strategy 2030," added Christian Volkel, Chief Privacy Officer.
Porsche says its customers' data is divided into three categories: product improvement, individual support of existing and potential new customers, and data sharing with third-party providers. Obviously, data collection isn't all bad. Porsche uses it to update Porsche Communication Management (PCM) and its charging services by tracking its users. It also surveys customers for the same reason and gives data to third-party providers, but only if it benefits customers. One example is data packages for in-car Wi-Fi, insurance tariffs, etc.
In short, Porsche is giving easy access to customers to show them how this data is used and an opportunity to opt out. And when you want to get a bit naughty in your Porsche Cayman GT4 RS, you need only engage "Private Mode." In this mode, the vehicle only transmits data that is legally required or necessary for the operation of the car - like your location in the event of an accident.
Porsche's reminders about its privacy rules are timely but have been around for a while. In fact, Porsche rolled this strategy out more than a year ago, as reported by The Wall Street Journal.
But Mozilla's report has brought the privacy debate out into the open, and while most people like to joke about it, it's a genuine concern. We learned that automakers can track your sexual activity, sell your data, and give you no control or access to your data.
Now, your faithful correspondent isn't too bothered with privacy. The link to my Instagram page is right below, and people often use it to tell me to "STFU." I also don't mind if a car tracks my habits. Apart from the occasional trip to some faraway place, my life is pretty dull. Spying on me would be exceedingly boring.
But I do have one concern. Over half of the automakers surveyed said they'd hand over personal information to law enforcement if an "informal request" was made. Sometimes, I allegedly go faster than I'm allowed to, and law enforcement having such easy access to that information should give all of us pause.