Is your car spying on you? - San Diego, California News Station - KFMB Channel 8 - cbs8.com

Is your car spying on you?

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SAN DIEGO (CBS 8) - You car's computer knows a lot about you -- maybe more than you know about yourself.

"It gathers information on where you're driving, how fast you're driving, how fast you're going around corners, how you're using your brakes and some cars can tell by seat belt sensors how many people are in the car," Jeff Spring of the Automobile Club of Southern California said.

And when there's a problem, many newer cars can send detailed information about what's wrong -- without you even realizing it -- back to the manufacturer. They can email it to a dealer, giving them an advantage to get your business over your local mechanic, who may be cheaper or more convenient.

"It goes to the dealership and the consumer should have some say in that, as to who gets that email," John Eppstein of John's Automotive Care said.

Now working its way through the state Senate is bill SB994, which would allow car owners to see what data their vehicle emits and decide with whom they want to share that information.

"A lot of information is still being restricted by the car makers. No one can get access to it," Spring said.

The Automobile Club of Southern California is one of the bill's sponsors. He says times are changing fast, pointing out that cars can now store a lot of information from your cell phone. And right now, there's no way for consumers to protect that information.

"Car makers are signing agreements with AT&T and Verizon and they're developing 4G types of platforms that can upload boatloads of information," Spring said.

Critics say this is a trick by insurance companies to get access to driver's records so they can raise rates if they know you speed a lot or go too fast around corners, but Spring says that's not true.

"There are provisions in the bill that prevent that. There are laws on the books in California that prevent that and you can't just change your rates arbitrarily in California as an insurance company. You have to set your rates and put changes before the commissioner," he said.

If SB994 becomes law, it would affect all cars manufactured after January 1, 2016.

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