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Mercedes spies on drivers by secretly installing tracking devices in cars and passing information to bailiffs - Kaspersky comment

August 2019 by David Emm, Principal Security Researcher, Global Research Analysis Team (GReAT) chez Kaspersky Lab

Following the news that Mercedes has admitted it spies on drivers with tracking devices in its cars, a comment from David Emm, Principal Security Researcher at Kaspersky, on the enormous power technology has given large organisations and what can be done to ensure it doesn’t undermine personal privacy.

Whilst technology has the potential to positively transform the world, it is also putting considerable power into the hands of large organisations, particularly with regards to monitoring consumers. This affects individual privacy and is likely to undermine trust. This is underlined by today’s news. Whether it’s the collection of personal information from car location settings or virtual assistants, or the ability to manipulate the settings of vehicles, the power that technology puts at the fingertips of vendors can undermine personal privacy – without people even knowing about it. It is essential for large organisations to recognise their responsibility to effectively manage data in a way that won’t adversely affect consumers. Furthermore, consumers too should take steps to properly understand and manage the security and privacy settings of devices that they buy. Lastly, government needs to accept its own responsibility to set a legal framework within which companies should operate, much like GDPR. It remains to be seen whether practices like this are even legal?

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