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Subaru Is Now Involved In A Vehicle Data Collection Lawsuit Investigation

Is your Subaru vehicle spying on you? Eye-opening information suggests that automakers are spying on owners. Then, they give the information to insurance companies. Now, Subaru is included in a lawsuit investigation.

There's more information that automakers are spying on vehicle owners and giving sensitive information to insurance companies. Your Subaru Outback, Forester, Crosstrek, or other Subaru models could be snitching on your driving habits. Here is how and why.

Subaru customers are entitled to know. I first uncovered the data-sharing information in a report I covered in April. You can read the complete report here

Who's Affected By Car Data Privacy?

Now, Subaru of America is included in a class-action lawsuit investigation. A report from Top Class Actions says, "Do you own a Subaru, Honda, Hyundai, or Kia vehicle less than five years old? Your vehicle may be collecting sensitive personal information about you and selling it to third parties."

"Car manufacturers are allegedly collecting drivers' sensitive personal information, that is driving behavior data, and selling it to third parties without obtaining proper consent. This information is then sold to data brokerage firms that sell it to insurance companies, potentially resulting in higher insurance premiums for drivers," says Top Class Actions. 

A New York Times story said that automakers and data brokers have partnered to collect detailed driving data from millions of Americans without the drivers' permission.

The insurance companies can then raise or lower your rates depending on your good or poor driving habits. 

The report says automakers like Subaru collect information directly from internet-connected vehicles (Subaru Starlink safety and security system) for the insurance industry. 

Subaru Says Its Data Is Limited

Subaru spokesperson Dominick Infante, director of Corporate Communications for Subaru of America, said that the Japanese automaker only shares odometer readings through its Starlink safety system. Subaru shares odometer data with LexisNexis for Subaru customers who turn on Starlink and authorize that data to be shared when shopping for auto insurance. 

Subaru's data via Starlink's safety and security technology is mileage-based only, according to Infante: Your insurer can access data on how many miles you drive. The more miles you drive, the higher your insurance rates can be. 

Subaru's Privacy Policy

Subaru's Connected Vehicle Services privacy policy states, "We collect Personal Information and Non-Personal Information automatically from Connected Vehicles. This information includes vehicle and service-related information, including but not limited to VIN and vehicle description; vehicle maintenance information; mechanical condition or incidents involving the vehicle such as crash severity sensor data; time, location, and speed of the vehicle; a Vehicle Occupant's search content; your personal identification number ("PIN"); and information about calls related to the Services or your account, such as the date, time and duration of the call, the identity and phone number of the caller, and contents of or notes about the call. In addition, your vehicle may be equipped with one or more sensing or diagnostic modules capable of automatically retrieving, recording, transmitting, or storing certain vehicle data, including but not limited to trouble codes, tire pressure, battery voltage, coolant temperature, and service requirements. We may collect and retain data from any such modules in your vehicle.”

Non-Personal Information

Subaru states, “We may disclose Non-Personal Information about you to Service Providers and other third parties if we deem such disclosure, in our sole discretion, to have sound business reasons or justifications.”

You Can Opt Out Of Third Party Marketing, But You Must Contact Subaru To Do So

Subaru says, “We share your Personal Information with third parties (each, a “Third Party Marketer”) for their own marketing purposes from time to time.  For example, we may provide Personal Information to Service Providers to permit them to market services to you for your vehicle (such as for WiFi hotspot or satellite radio services, or insurance or financial products). You may opt out of this sharing by contacting us.”

A New Class-Action Lawsuit Investigation

The report says you may qualify to join a class action lawsuit investigation into alleged data privacy violations if you own a Subaru, Honda, Hyundai, or Kia vehicle that is less than five years old. Top Class Actions has a form to fill out here for more information.

What Personal Data Is Being Collected By Your Car?

The report says, "Modern vehicles come equipped with high-tech features such as complex computers, sensors, cameras on the inside and outside, and connected services (like Subaru Starlink) and apps. Drivers benefit from this in many ways but may not realize that third parties are collecting and profiting from the private information that this technology collects."

According to recent research, the Mozilla Foundation found that 84% of vehicle manufacturers have collected and shared personal driver data without explicit consent. "Owners seemingly have little control or transparency over what data is gathered and who has access." 

What Personal Data Is Being Collected?

Driving data, such as miles driven per month and speeding, braking, and acceleration information, provides insights into your driving habits and style.

Connected services data include contact information, account login credentials, payment information, and personal preferences.

Sensitive personal information, such as drivers' health, religious and philosophical beliefs, sex life, sexual orientation, genetic data, and unique biometric information, may be collected.

According to Progressive Insurance, your driving behavior is typically measured using a plug-in device or a mobile app for months. After your UBI program concludes, your insurance company will consider the data when calculating your premium

The guidelines and level of savings will vary by insurer. While your rate could be substantially discounted based on the results of your UBI program, your policy's premium may increase.

There Are Privacy And Security Concerns

Top Class Actions says car manufacturers have access to an abundance of customer data from vehicle sensors and connected services. It is alleged that many automakers fail to explicitly disclose how personal information is collected and used, raising concerns over privacy and security.

The report says a New York consumer alleged that when his car insurance jumped by 21 percent, he filed a request through the Fair Credit Reporting Act to find out why. 

He received a more than 130-page "consumer disclosure report" detailing each time he or his wife had driven his vehicle over the previous six months. The report showed details such as speeding, hard braking, and sharp accelerations, which were used against him in determining his risk score for insurance coverage.

NOTE: This is not a class-action lawsuit against Subaru of America. It's an opportunity to join a vehicle data collection class action lawsuit investigation into Subaru, Honda, Hyundai, and Kia.  

If you have a current subscription to Starlink, Subaru can and will share your mileage with an insurance company. Your rates could go up if you drive more than the average of 12,000 miles per year.

If you purchased a Subaru Outback, Forester, Crosstrek, or other Subaru model with Starlink safety and security technology within the past five years, you may have a legal claim. 

Are you concerned that Subaru shares your mileage data with your insurance company? Click on the Add New Comment red link below and join the conversation.

I am Denis Flierl, a top Torque News reporter since 2012. I’ve invested over 13 years in the automotive industry in a consulting role, working with every major car brand. I am an experienced Rocky Mountain Automotive Press member. You'll find my expert Subaru analysis here. Follow me on my X SubaruReportAll Subaru, WRXSTI, @DenisFlierlFacebook, and Instagram.

Photo credit: Subaru


Dennis lindsay (not verified)    May 22, 2024 - 12:01AM

My Auto Insurance increased for the first time after 6yrs of owning a Subaru.The answer I was given was all rates increased by all providers.I said ok.I believe you are correct .Thanks for the information.

Phil Leach (not verified)    May 22, 2024 - 2:10AM

Is Subaru Canada also sharing/selling driving information to third parties? I am thinking of purchasing a Subaru Crosstrek and would like to what my exposure is regarding data collection. If so, how many I opt out of data collection.

Michael Pirschel (not verified)    May 22, 2024 - 7:02PM

I am against "big brother" watching without my consent. So how can you keep this info private or decide what is shared. If I drop Starlink or My Subaru apt. Is my privacy then safe?

Jesse Martin (not verified)    May 22, 2024 - 10:18PM

I have a 2024 Subaru Ascent Touring fully loaded with StarLink and safety and security. My model vehicle also has the interior camera that watches the driver. My rates went up a while back. I had previously had a Kia Sorento 2017 or 2018 that had exterior camera hardware. What should I do to make sure I have not been impacted by this? Thanks!

Leota (not verified)    May 23, 2024 - 7:32AM

23 Forester Touring w/ Starlink. I never approved my information to be shared. Interested in class action suit.

Christa (not verified)    May 24, 2024 - 3:45PM

I purchased a 2024 outback in December 2023. I have starlink and my insurance increased almost $200.00. I do not want my info shared with any one.

Ron Tidd (not verified)    May 24, 2024 - 8:25PM

To make it worse, I received an email with the following header:

CARFAX Report for Life!
As a valued customer, Tacoma Subaru has provided you with FREE ACCESS to your CARFAX REPORT & CARFAX Car Care account for as long as you own your car (a $99/year value).

Thus, my information could be sold back to me, were not for the generosity of the dealer. That dealer, however, denies having sent the email, which happened to include my car's mileage on the day it went in for its first scheduled service.

Cindy sk (not verified)    May 26, 2024 - 4:03PM

Bought a 2024 Subaru. I am not happy that my information may be sold to data brokers of any sort. If there is no obvious product then YOU are the product.

Melissa (not verified)    June 13, 2024 - 3:39PM

My rate has doubled in the past year & 1/2 that I've owned my 2022 Subaru Forester Sport. I've never paid this much for insurance in my life!!!

I tried to fill out the form on Top Class Actions, but it says that the form is no longer active to join the investigation. Is there still a way to join in on this case?

Melissa (not verified)    June 14, 2024 - 1:03PM

My rate has doubled in the past year & 1/2 that I've owned my 2022 Subaru Forester Sport. I've never paid this much for insurance in my life!!!

I tried to fill out the form on Top Class Actions, but it says that the form is no longer active to join the investigation. Is there still a way to join in on this case?