Last month Ford's Jim Farley made waves at the CES when it was reported he told show attendees, "We have GPS in your car, so we know what you're doing. By the way, we don't supply that data to anyone." Farley and Ford later partially retracted and clarified that statement.

Spurred by a desire for further transparency on data collection policies, Ford representatives answered questions from Congress, specifically Senator Al Franken (D-Minn.), about driver privacy.

The Detroit News reports that Ford told Congress it does collect some vehicle location data in an effort to "troubleshoot and improve our products" on behalf of the driver. Ford went on to say that it only collects limited data after receiving permission from owners.

Ford also spelled out how, and how long, different types of data is collected and stored. The company claims that travel data from SYNC services can be kept for up to 60 days, but only to "fulfill the customer request" according to the Detroit News report, as well as for the aforementioned troubleshooting. Location data from in-vehicle navigation systems can be kept in the vehicle's own storage for up to weeks at a time (depending on number of miles traveled). Ford does collect data about plug-in hybrids and EVs, including speed data, but only when the battery system charge is low.

Ford also said that it will turn over vehicle data if subpoenaed to do so, but only via physical access to the vehicle in question.

For his part, Sen. Franken believes the time is ripe for a reintroduction of his "location privacy" bill, which would require that customers be better informed about where their data is going, and asking for "clear consent" before it is gathered, stored, or shared. "This is sensitive information," said Franken, "and notices to consumers about this sensitive data shouldn't get lost in fine print."


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 28 Comments
      Andre Neves
      • 10 Months Ago
      Wait a minute. Did the government just Grill Ford on collecting data from its people?
      knightrider_6
      • 10 Months Ago
      Oh the irony! Congress has the balls to ask Ford about privacy.
      thedriveatfive
      • 10 Months Ago
      It would be nice to hear from ford sync owners if they had a clear way to opt out of this or if its burried in the fine print of the contract. I suspect the later.
        Greg
        • 10 Months Ago
        @thedriveatfive
        IIRC, if you use their system, it is considered consent, so to opt out, you have to not use it.
          ferps
          • 10 Months Ago
          @Greg
          can you opt out and still use the car?
      Malou H
      • 10 Months Ago
      i dont want you holding anything of mine.
        Jarda
        • 10 Months Ago
        @Malou H
        That's why Ford does this only with owners' approval.
      Dodgy LeFord
      • 10 Months Ago
      they don't share the information they collect with anyone until someone rips them off..."snowden 2'
      Car Guy
      • 10 Months Ago
      And speaking of privacy, wasn't it some Democrats that pushed to get the name and addresses of gun & CCW holders published in searchable databases after the Sandy Hook school shooting? Smells like hypocrisy......
        Darren McLellan
        • 10 Months Ago
        @Car Guy
        Speaking of something that has nothing to do with the subject at hand.. That was a NEWSPAPER in New York.Not someone in CONGRESS nit freaking wit. Get your head out of your ass and THINK.Oh and please don't vote as your not smart enough to spell.
      • 10 Months Ago
      [blocked]
        Jarda
        • 10 Months Ago
        Do you understand what "owner's approval" means?
          Greg
          • 10 Months Ago
          @Jarda
          When said approval doesn't include the app rovers' knowing they approved anything, I doubt anyone really 'understands' it.
          thedriveatfive
          • 10 Months Ago
          @Jarda
          Not many people read the fine print on services before they sign. Especially several pages of micro text.
      SooooRight
      • 10 Months Ago
      al franken is a steaming pile of feces.
        Greg
        • 10 Months Ago
        @SooooRight
        I don't like him or agree with his political views, but he's not the looking bad in this drama.
        tump
        • 10 Months Ago
        @SooooRight
        He's better than 90% of his peers.
      That Guy
      • 10 Months Ago
      Hey look! Ford lied yet again. Just a few weeks ago, they said the data wasn't saved. What a disgusting company.
      Jake
      • 10 Months Ago
      Did they ask this clown and the other clowns in congress about the NSA and what they do with data that they collect from our phones and email and texts and...
        Darren McLellan
        • 10 Months Ago
        @Jake
        Forgive me but I tend to think the good Senator has probably asked allot of questions on just such lines. Do you think anyone in the MSM is going you tell you this?
        tump
        • 10 Months Ago
        @Jake
        http://www.startribune.com/politics/national/231843171.html
      rollie
      • 10 Months Ago
      The day when you are monitored every second of every day of your life is almost here. Cameras, satellites, drones, cell phones, and your car will tell where you are, what you did, and where you went. Tinfoil hats don't even have a chance.
      mustsvt
      • 10 Months Ago
      It is a very scary day for me when I find myself agreeing with Al Franken on anything, but in this case I do.
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