A federal judge upheld the dismissal of a class-action lawsuit that alleged automakers illegally collected and recorded text messages from car owners, as first reported The record. In a failure on tuesdayThe Seattle-based judge said the claims are not serious enough to be considered a violation of the state’s Washington Privacy Act (WPA).
A group of five related class action lawsuits allege that Honda, Toyota, Volkswagen, General Motors and Ford “recorded and intercepted (car owners’) private text messages and call logs” when their phones were connected to information systems and vehicle entertainment. The case brought against Ford has already been dismissed, according to The record.
The federal judge’s ruling states that the district court “properly dismissed” the four remaining cases, adding that they do not satisfy the WPA’s legal injury requirement, which says plaintiffs must allege harm to their person, reputation or business. “Plaintiffs’ claim that a violation of the WPA itself is sufficient to satisfy harm to a ‘person’… without more, is insufficient to meet the statutory requirement,” the ruling says.
As automakers continue to develop their infotainment systems with features designed to help you answer calls and text messages, privacy advocates argue that manufacturers are not doing enough to protect user data. A 2022 report from The market discovered that car manufacturers not only collect data about your car, but also send it to vehicle data centers to process that information.
In September, the Mozilla Foundation released a report saying that modern cars “are a privacy nightmare,” and noted that several big-name car brands, including Ford, toyota, volkswagen, bmwand tesla, did not meet the organization’s minimum privacy standards. Until something is done to regulate the vehicle data industry, companies can continue to collect everything from the vehicle’s speed and the music you’re playing to your location.