When cops get the run-around from Apple or Google over access to someone's text messages, they know who to try next: the company that makes the target's car. A Washington appeals court ruled this week that Honda and other automakers did nothing wrong by storing text messages and call records from connected phones, at least when it comes to the state Privacy Act. The Register:
In other words, it's A-OK for your car to "automatically and without authorization, instantaneously intercept, record, download, store, and [be] capable of transmitting" text messages and call logs since the privacy violation is potential, but the injury not necessarily actual.
The Circuit judges hearing the case lumped all of [the cases] together because "the factual background and legal issues are virtually identical," and dismissed the appeal not because the automakers hadn't done anything wrong, but rather because the claims didn't meet the Washington Privacy Act's (WPA) statutory injury requirements.
Here's the Honda customer's complaint. [PDF]
Infotainment systems in Honda vehicles from at least 2014 onward automatically and without authorization, instantaneously intercept, record, download, store, and are capable of transmitting, a copy of all text messages sent from or received by a smartphone while the smartphone is connected to the infotainment system
Honda vehicles store each intercepted, recorded, and downloaded copy of text messages in non-temporary computer memory in such a manner that the vehicle owner cannot access it or delete it
Even if the text message is deleted from the smartphone, the Honda vehicle retains a copy in on-board memory, even after the smartphone is disconnected
Infotainment systems in Honda vehicles from at least 2014 onward automatically and without authorization, record, download, store, and are capable of transmitting, a copy of all records of incoming and outgoing calls and call durations ("call logs") already stored on smartphones when those phones connect to the infotainment system.
The law is not your opsec.