Could your car be spying on you?

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - There are all types of technology in our cars these days. It helps us get around, allows us to talk on the phone "hands-free" and controls the music we listen to.

Could that technology also be watching you? WBTV Cyber Expert Theresa Payton says it is possible for some of your tech to be keeping tabs on you. Which is why she says we need to ask plenty of questions before we buy or rent a car.

She uses the example of rental car company Hertz. The company's newest version of it's on-board system works as a high-functioning GPS. However it also has audio and video capabilities. In theory it could see inside of your car.

A Hertz spokesperson tells WBTV the system currently doesn't have working software and isn't activated for use. If the company does eventually activate it, a decision that has not been made, we're told only a customer could start the system when the car is not in motion. Hertz would not be able to look in on what you're doing in the car.

Payton says we should be asking for those answers no matter if we're renting or leasing or buying a new car. Her advice follows:


1. privacy - customer service agents and their authority to turn the audio and video on without an emergency call requesting the service

2. hackers - all technology is hackable and you just created a potential entry point for the bad guys, especially if they want to target a high profile person

Theresa's advice:

1. When buying a new car or renting one, ask questions about the on board system

2. Ask if you can disable or prevent snooping

3. You have protections, the FTC has told businesses they CANNOT collect audio / video without warning customers and a TV rental place got in trouble for this. They put a camera in place to spy on customers not making payments. They had a little scope creep and found that customer service was spying on their clients' private lives.

Copyright 2015 WBTV. All Rights Reserved.