Where the data from your car flows

Jon Keegan and Alfred Ng, for The Markup, identified 37 companies that collect data from connected cars. On where it goes and how the companies profit:

Once a driver gets into a car, dozens of sensors emit data points that flow to the car’s computer: The driver door is unlocked; a passenger is in the driver’s seat; the internal cabin temperature is 86° F; the sunroof is opened; the ignition button is pressed; a trip has started from this location.

These data points are processed by the car’s computers and transmitted via cellular radio back to the car manufacturer’s servers.

As the trip continues, additional information is collected: the vehicle location and speed, whether the brakes are applied, which song is playing on the entertainment system, whether the headlights are on or the oil level is low.

The data then begins its own journey from the car manufacturer to companies known as “vehicle data hubs” and on through the connected vehicle data marketplace.