Question about the interior camera from a privacy standpoint

machdaddy

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I have a concern about privacy with regards to supposedly an interior camera facing the driver. In Teslas they utilize this camera as part of a driver attention requirement for autopilot. However, the MME doesn't seem to advertise that capability, at least not in the present iteration. This definitely becomes a concern for me from a privacy standpoint whether this camera will be always on, part of the telemetry data that is sent to Ford (or whomever else) and whether there will be audio recordings also captured/sent.

I hope that a Ford MME engineer can address this with us and quell my privacy concerns by explaining exactly what the function of the interior driver facing camera is supposedly going to provide functionality wise, whether it is always on, the extent of recording and telemetry and whether the car will function without this. I will consider this a deal breaker if it doesn't allow full infotainment & driving functionality while disabled/blocked.


P.S.
@ChasingCoral The timer starts now to see how long it takes for your opinion on this. 😜





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hybrid2bev

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Ford takes customer data privacy very seriously. Ford is the steward of the data collected by the vehicle and the customer owns their data. See the policies laid out in this link: https://www.ford.com/help/privacy/

My understanding is that if you disable/block the infrared camera then all other functions should still work, you just won't be able to engage the hands free highway driving (after that feature is enabled in the future). The camera is there to enable hands free driving by confirming that the driver is awake and looking forward (like GM's SuperCruise). It's a safety issue if the vehicle cannot confirm that you are engaged in the driving process.
 
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machdaddy

machdaddy

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I appreciate your response, thank you.

I would also appreciate clarification on the other parts of my concern. Namely: audio recording (yes/no), can this be disabled or is it always on, audio and video part of telemetry?
 

timbop

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I've seen multiple interviews that confirm the camera is used to make sure the driver is looking forward and paying attention. It will be interesting if the data that supposedly belongs to me will in the future be made available to law enforcement without my consent after an accident. The fact that it is recorded at all is disturbing - there is no need to record whether I am looking forward while copilot 360 is engaged as that is only needed in realtime to decide if I am paying attention "now".

I also have a general concern about how handsfree digital assistants constantly "listen" for the wakeup command, because by definition they are always listening. I swear on multiple occasions my wife's iphone has listened to us talk about buying something, because she has gotten ads/offers regarding things we had talked about less than 24 hours before. Will Ford record my private conversations also, and if so why?
 

hybrid2bev

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I don't know. I suspect we won't know until the owners manual is published.

From the Privacy Policy:
For other vehicle models, please see the owner’s manual, check the in-vehicle settings (if equipped) or contact your dealer for more information about what connectivity equipment is installed in the vehicle, and how to tell if the vehicle is sharing data. You can also find out how to deactivate vehicle connectivity in the owner’s manual.
 
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machdaddy

machdaddy

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For other vehicle models, please see the owner’s manual, check the in-vehicle settings (if equipped) or contact your dealer for more information about what connectivity equipment is installed in the vehicle, and how to tell if the vehicle is sharing data. You can also find out how to
This is one of those very technical details that the dealership likely won't know the answer to. I would like to know the answer of these things prior to putting a deposit down with the dealership. Certainly before I would ever have access to a car manual. It is important to me, and if it is as important to Ford as they state customer privacy is to them, I suggest they provide some actual detailed answers prior to customer order conversion as we are requesting. I share @timbop's concerns and is the primary reason I do not own "smart assistant" devices.
 

RyZt

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In Teslas they utilize this camera as part of a driver attention requirement for autopilot.
That's not true. According to Elon Musk's twitter post: It’s there for when we start competing with Uber/Lyft & people allow their car to earn money for them as part of the Tesla shared autonomy fleet. In case someone messes up your car, you can check the video.

On the other hand, in this news article, a Ford director is quoted as saying that Ford will utilize the camera for hands-free driving. I wish I can find a more official source. Maybe some one can help me here.
 
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machdaddy

machdaddy

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That's not true. According to Elon Musk's twitter post: It’s there for when we start competing with Uber/Lyft & people allow their car to earn money for them as part of the Tesla shared autonomy fleet. In case someone messes up your car, you can check the video.

On the other hand, in this news article, a Ford director is quoted as saying that Ford will utilize the camera for hands-free driving. I wish I can find a more official source. Maybe some one can help me here.
Thanks, good info there. I was wrong about Tesla's interior camera being utilized with autopilot. I'm probably not going to utilize hands-free driving, so I am hoping there is a way to disable the interior camera, along with any audio recording aspect that may accompany it.
 

timbop

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Thanks, good info there. I was wrong about Tesla's interior camera being utilized with autopilot. I'm probably not going to utilize hands-free driving, so I am hoping there is a way to disable the interior camera, along with any audio recording aspect that may accompany it.
A piece of black gaffer's tape will do for the camera :)
 

JamieGeek

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If it has Sync it will have a microphone--nearly all Ford's have a microphone today for use with voice commands and hands free calling.

Or, more than likely, microphones as in multiple for noise cancellation during the call.
 

ChasingCoral

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If you disable the microphone you can't use it for calls. I definitely wouldn't want to do that.

I recall this being discussed in an interview with one of the Ford folks. Sorry, I can't recall which one, maybe the Sync 4a demo, maybe the one with the head of BEVs. What I do recall was the statement that the video is only used for the hands-free driving so you don't have to keep your hands on the wheel like you do in Teslas (what @hybrid2bev said). I also recall the explicit statement the video isn't recorded and doesn't go anywhere. Now someone just has to recall which video.

Sorry to disappoint, I've been in meetings the last few hours 🤪
 
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machdaddy

machdaddy

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If it has Sync it will have a microphone--nearly all Ford's have a microphone today for use with voice commands and hands free calling.

Or, more than likely, microphones as in multiple for noise cancellation during the call.
I would like to clarify that I have no issue with a microphone that is button actuated, that's perfectly fine. A microphone that is always on, listening for keyphrases like "Hey Siri" should have a software adjustable toggle-off functionality that can be set to manual activation by a steering wheel physical button like in most cars with bluetooth connected phone pairings.

I do have an issue with the idea that the video camera may also record audio in an always on capacity. Especially if that the video and audio are stored, even locally within the car. The contents of which can be subpoenaed and utilized against you in a court of law in times of accidents. More disconcerting would be always on audio recordings that is sent through Ford vice button actuated command recognition. I do not want casual or private conversations being sent through telematics. This debacle happened recently with Amazon and Apple with smart home devices.

Fortunately, if what @ChasingCoral remembers is true about video not being stored or transmitted, these fears will be mostly allayed. I would still like to get positive confirmation about telematics too.
 

macchiaz-o

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I've got the same recollection from the videos as @ChasingCoral on this topic. As I recall it, the sensors behind the steering wheel are used to score driver attentiveness and that is all. And, the computations are done in real time, in the vehicle, with no need for recording.

Hopefully there's an on/off toggle for the "Hey, Ford" listening. None of us would know for sure until final or nearly final versions of Sync 4A are available for folks to try out. Hopefully some auto journalists will let us all know.

In the mean time, you could try calling Ford Marketing at 800-334-4375 to see if they can address some of your concerns. They're at least aware of our purchase reservations and they do have some high level info on MME. Maybe they could at least forward on your questions to the right people.
 
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machdaddy

machdaddy

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I've got the same recollection from the videos as @ChasingCoral on this topic. As I recall it, the sensors behind the steering wheel are used to score driver attentiveness and that is all. And, the computations are done in real time, in the vehicle, with no need for recording.

Hopefully there's an on/off toggle for the "Hey, Ford" listening. None of us would know for sure until final or nearly final versions of Sync 4A are available for folks to try out. Hopefully some auto journalists will let us all know.

In the mean time, you could try calling Ford Marketing at 800-334-4375 to see if they can address some of your concerns. They're at least aware of our purchase reservations and they do have some high level info on MME. Maybe they could at least forward on your questions to the right people.
Thank you. I will do that soon and let the forum know.
 

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