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How G.M. Tricked Millions of Drivers Into Being Spied On

The New York Times – “Kashmir Hill is a technology reporter who has been covering the privacy implications of connected cars, including her own. Automakers have been selling data about the driving behavior of millions of people to the insurance industry. In the case of General Motors, affected drivers weren’t informed, and the tracking led insurance companies to charge some of them more for premiums. I’m the reporter who broke the story. I recently discovered that I’m among the drivers who was spied on. My husband and I bought a G.M.-manufactured 2023 Chevrolet Bolt in December. This month, my husband received his “consumer disclosure files” from LexisNexis Risk Solutions and Verisk, two data brokers that work with the insurance industry and that G.M. had been providing with data. (He requested the files after my article came out in March, heeding the advice I had given to readers.) My husband’s LexisNexis report had a breakdown of the 203 trips we had taken in the car since January, including the distance, the start and end times, and how often we hard-braked or accelerated rapidly. The Verisk report, which dated back to mid-December and recounted 297 trips, had a high-level summary at the top: 1,890.89 miles driven; 4,251 driving minutes; 170 hard-brake events; 24 rapid accelerations, and, on a positive note, zero speeding events. I had requested my own LexisNexis file while reporting, but it didn’t have driving data on it. Though both of our names are on the car’s title, the data from our Bolt accrued to my husband alone because the G.M. dealership listed him as the primary owner. G.M.’s spokeswoman had told me that this data collection happened only to people who turned on OnStar, its connected services plan, and enrolled in Smart Driver, a gamified program that offers feedback and digital badges for good driving, either at the time of purchase or via their vehicle’s mobile app. That wasn’t us — and I had checked to be sure. In mid-January, again while reporting, I had connected our car to the MyChevrolet app to see if we were enrolled in Smart Driver. The app said we weren’t, and thus we had no access to any information about how we drove.”

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