FTC attorney Lisa Weintraub Schifferle published a blog post on August 31st, warning people to think twice about connecting to your rental car’s infotainment system.
The infotainment system is the software on newer cars that handles audio, apps, & information. People connect to it through the USB port that exists in most cars these days.
Unfortunately, the auto manufacturers didn’t think someone who’s in one of their cars may only be there temporarily, and not want their data stored in the car. Normally, car owners want their contacts & phone numbers stored so it displays people’s name when they call or text.
In addition to contact data, they may also remember all the GPS data from where you drove.
“It may keep locations you entered in GPS or visited when travelling in the rental car – like where you work or live.”
As preventative measures when renting a car, the FTC suggests using an adapter with the 12V outlet instead. If you want to use the USB ports, “check your permissions” and “delete your data from the infotainment system before returning the car.” For me, that’s too complicated; I’ll just bring along my Aukey car adapter on the trip. It sits flush to the adapter & is quick charge capable. Here’s a list of other popular car chargers from Lifehacker.
Bottomline – It’s possible rental cars store cell data, so bring a car adapter on your trips to prevent your cell data from being remembered & retrieved.