June 22, 2021


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Emails, Text Messages Can Be Retrieved From Smartphones Synced to Vehicles

Emails, Text Messages Can Be Retrieved From Smartphones Synced to Vehicles

Slashdot reader ytene writes: As reported by The Intercept, U.S. Customs and Border Protection have just spent $456,063 for a package of technology specifically designed to access smartphone data via a motor vehicle. From the article:

“…part of the draw of vacuuming data out of cars is that so many drivers are oblivious to the fact that their cars are generating so much data in the first place, often including extremely sensitive information inadvertently synced from smartphones.”

This data can include “Recent destinations, favorite locations, call logs, contact lists, SMS messages, emails, pictures, videos, social media feeds, and the navigation history of everywhere the vehicle has been, when and where a vehicle’s lights are turned on, and which doors are opened and closed at specific locations” as well as “gear shifts, odometer reads, ignition cycles, speed logs, and more. This car-based surveillance, in other words, goes many miles beyond the car itself.”

Perhaps the most remarkable claim, however, was, “We had a Ford Explorer we pulled the system out, and we recovered 70 phones that had been connected to it. All of their call logs, their contacts and their SMS.”

Mohammad Tajsar, an attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), is quoted as saying, “Whenever we have surveillance technology that’s deeply invasive, we are disturbed,” he said. “When it’s in the hands of an agency that’s consistently refused any kind of attempt at basic accountability, reform, or oversight, then it’s Defcon 1.”

Read more of this story at Slashdot.