There are almost an infinite number of ways it seems, that we can inadvertently release our personal data in the electronic age. Here’s one you very likely haven't considered.
Most Americans know that today’s modern vehicles are rolling computers. Most Americans probably also know that they need to carefully clear data before disposing of a computer, I-Pad, or smart phone. But you may not have thought about it when it comes to your car.
It's also a treasure-trove of information — so never dispose of your car before removing stored data. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) recently released tips to follow when you prepare to sell, trade or donate your vehicle.
The following types of data should be cleared prior to sale:
The FTC also recommends that besides the information stored in your vehicle, check to make sure you’ve cleared connections between your devices and the vehicle. For example car manufacturers may provide an app that lets you control the car’s functions or find the car. The FTC urges you to disconnect that app from the car before you permanently transfer it to someone else.
Finally, even hitting the “factory reset” button to clear data may not do the trick because your car may still be connected to subscription services like satellite radio, mobile wi-fi hotspots and data services. To avoid problems, cancel these services or have them transferred to your new vehicle. For further information on clearing stored data, consult your vehicle’s owners’ manual or your local dealer.
This page was produced by the Iowa Organization for Victim Assistance under award #2016-XV-GX-K004, awarded by the Office for Victims of Crime, Office of Justice Programs, U.S. Department of Justice. The opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this website are those of the contributors and do not necessarily represent the official position or policies of the U.S. Department of Justice.