You don't need to get too worried, but it depends on what you do with your GPS and what you need to be aware of.
If you use route planning on most systems including the simple data gathering displayed in your car, you are collecting information that might incriminate you if you were in an accident, although it's unlikely that information could relate to the specific moment an accident happened.
Most new vehicle ECUs capture and store a lot of data which accident investigators can use. Even simple events like the firing of air bags could help them.
The common thing about all electronic data capture systems is the data has to leave the device capturing it. Then there's another risk that data can be linked to you, even though they say it is sold 'anonymised'.
In the case of GPS sat navs there are at least 2 ways I can think of. The first is if you take out a subscription to have live traffic events such as hold-ups beamed to your satnav so it can select alternative routes. In order to do that, the remote system (their computers) have to know your journey route, position and speed to update your route. In addition they have your subscription information so they can link YOU to that data. In countries where there are subpeona systems, that data could be got from the subscription service provider. Once the data linked to you is out there, you can assume you have no control over its use, whatever promises you are given.
As we have read, even 'anonymous' statistical data can be to your disadvantage if you happen to be a statistic driving the same route at the same time as many others.
The second possibility is the memory holding your 'personal' custom settings, planned routes, favorites etc could be accessed externally and the most likely time is when you are connecting the GPS online to do some kind of map update or feature download. You may not be told this is happening and it's all down to reading the small print in the contract.
A third posibility is if your GPS is linked via Blutooth to your phone to call out and get updated information such as local service phone numbers, restaurants etc.
You can avoid all of these potential breaches of personal data security by using the GPS in 'local' mode. If you have to do updates, only use a GPS that allows a file to be downloaded online and programed into your GPS offline. Since most GPS companies see ways of making money from your data and worry about update hacking they will lead you to live online updating - But you have no idea what is being sent back to them.
Now there's the GPS on your smartphone - iphone, PDA, Blackberry etc. You haven't got a cat in hells chance of keeping that data secure. How do you think Google maps probably make their money? It's using your lifestyle data to sell to third parties and your phone number and account can link that directly to you.
When you select an app. on your smartphone, not only is the phone network provider making money from carrying your data, but there are many new business opportunities for using it!
Now I can understand why there are some eccentrics living in holes in the ground with camouflaged infra red blocking roofs and no modern electronic equipment connected to it! Big brother is always out there and electronic communications and devices make his life very easy.
Have you got something to hide?
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