A common luxury for drivers now is the ability to pair a smartphone with a car’s infotainment system, which makes it easier to access GPS, music and other useful items.
Whenever someone rents a car, it’s probably second nature to pair a phone with the rental car’s infotainment system, but a recent report indicates that it might actually be dangerous.
A report from Privacy International says that whenever someone pairs their phone to a car’s infotainment system, it sends the car all the details that are on the phone. That includes your home address, and it becomes stored in the car until or unless someone deletes it.
The report said that people can use the information stored inside the car to track people down.
“Your name and navigation history is valuable personal information. The UK Metropolitan Polices’ ‘Digital Control Strategy’ identifies infotainment systems in cars, which store this information, as a new forensic opportunity. Combine this information with a bit of open source intelligence, such as social media profiles, and you can track down individuals.”
According to CarScoops, rental car companies expect people to delete their information from the system before the return the vehicle.
The manufacturers don’t have control of whether someone’s information is stored or deleted once it’s put into the system, so the responsibility falls on the driver.
It’s possible rental car companies could start telling people who are renting cars that their information is stored once they pair their phones to the car, and that would help both sides. It’s dangerous to leave all your personal information out in the open where a random person could find it and figure out where you live.
So, if you’re renting a car — especially with the holidays coming up — make sure you delete your information from the infotainment system if you pair it to your smartphone.