The Ford Motor Company recently wrote a letter on vehicle data sharing practices to Senator Al Franken [65K PDF]:

Additionally, the GAO report stated no company allows customers to delete their location data. At Ford, that is not true. If customers contact our Relationship Center and request deletion of the location data they provide through one of our opt-in connected services, we will delete it.


Ford offers an embedded navigation system on all 2013 and 2014 model year vehicles in the United States. The navigation system stores latitude, longitude, and a timestamp, on board the vehicle in a temporary buffer. The data is stored for approximately 2-3 weeks based on miles driven. Location data is never transmitted off board the vehicle by the navigation system to Ford or anyone else.

Ford also offers several connected services to customers. SYNC is a voice-activated system that controls music, navigation, climate, and other functions. While these functions require no connectivity, the customer can also pair SYNC with his or her mobile device through Bluetooth wireless connectivity to enable several connected services to enhance the customer’s experience, which are SYNC Services, SYNC Applink, SYNC Vehicle Health Reports, and SYNC 911 Assist. Ford also offers two limited-volume connected services, MyFord Mobile (and MyLincoln Mobile) and Crew Chief. Each of these connected services requires customer consent before wirelessly transmitting any location data.


(4) What kind of location data does Ford share, and with whom does Ford share it?

24/7, Inrix, and MyAssist, are the third party service providers Ford currently uses to provide SYNC Services, and which receive location data to fulfill customer requests. Acquity Group (Accenture) is the service provider that receives MyFord Mobile location data. Location data includes latitude and longitude, and may contain a timestamp from the vehicle. While not involving third-party companies, SYNC 911 Assist can provide location data to local 911 services to facilitate emergency assistance.


What Google’s Foray Into Cars Means for the Automotive Industry.

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Your Driving Data Can Reveal Your Routes.

US GAO Report on In-Car Location-Based services: Companies Are Taking Steps to Protect Privacy, but Some Risks May Not Be Clear to Consumers