2021 Ford Bronco Data Privacy Policy

May 27, 2021
In an era where technology is woven into each aspect of our lives, the data created by that technology and the privacy surrounding it has become increasingly important. Whether we like to admit it or not, vehicles have become a piece of technology in many respects, and the 2021 Ford Bronco is no exception. Ford has broken down its data privacy policy in the owner’s manual of the new Bronco, and Bronco Nation was able to get a sneak peek at which privacies are afforded to you and which are not. Each Bronco will have electronic control units with the capability to store vehicle data both temporarily and permanently. Ford states that “this data could include information on the condition and status of your vehicle, vehicle maintenance requirements, events and malfunctions.” What can Ford do with this data? According to this policy, Ford can “provide this info to law enforcement, government authorities, and third parties acting with lawful authority or through a legal process.” This ranges from the operating state of the vehicle –– which may include fuel level and tire pressure –– to things like seatbelt status, wheel speed, acceleration, deceleration, and more.

Event Data

Event data is also mentioned in this policy, which would come into play in the event of a crash or near-crash scenario. This is usually a recording of 30 seconds or less in which the vehicle records seatbelt status of all occupants, acceleration and brake pedal depression, rate of speed, and position of the steering wheel. Ford does note that this “event data” is only recorded in a “non-trivial crash situation.”

Settings Data

Settings data is another component of this policy covering comfort, convenience, and entertainment data. This data will be stored locally within the vehicle or can be stored on an external device that you connect. This data can be deleted by the consumer and shared through services that one may subscribe to. This data can include seat and steering position, climate control, radio presets, navigation destinations, and more.

Third-Party Devices

Noticeably absent from this privacy policy is the tracking of third-party devices such as cell phones that may be plugged into the vehicle. For example, if a person was on the phone while driving and had a collision, it does not appear that Ford can track, store, or share that data. This policy does include a “Mobile Device Data” section, but that appears to only pertain to mobile apps that would interact with your car. That data is encrypted and only accessible for troubleshooting purposes. This data can also be wiped from the vehicle by preforming a master reset.

Apple CarPlay

As a perpetual user of Apple CarPlay, I wanted to also look at Apple’s privacy policy, seeing as Apple prides themselves on data privacy and security. Per Apple's policy, “every app you see is powered from your iPhone rather than by the car. This means that Apple gives only limited metadata to the car to make the experience seamless, and only when that metadata is essential to delivering the service.” This policy applies to all third-party apps as well, and Apple’s pertinent protections remain the same. Ford has done a nice job balancing privacy with safety in this policy. It allows one to remain protected and delete personal data while also retaining and sharing data that may provide answers to law enforcement and insurance in the event of an accident. For another look at the privacy Ford has built into the all-new Bronco, read our article on the FordPass Performance App.

Find more information from the Owner's Manual in the forums and discuss it.


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