By @David #144
This is the fourth installment in our series on the FordPass Performance App for the 2021 Ford Bronco. Part 1 gave an overview of the feature set for the app, and Part 2 covered the in-Bronco and trail ride planning experience. Part 3 details trail ride capturing, overlay details, and sharing.
Part 4 – Privacy and Capability
“How is this going to work, privacy–wise?” I figured this was going to be an uncomfortable subject for the FordPass Performance Team. Modern life has developed this strange tradeoff between technological capability and personal privacy. We’re offered innovation, at a scale never before seen in human civilization, for the small price of providing large corporations with seemingly insignificant details about our personal lives. Those little insights, in aggregate, can paint a frighteningly detailed picture of who we are. Shane and his team provided the right answers to many of these privacy questions, but there’s still work to do here. Time will tell if there are devils hiding in their details.
FordPass Performance is deeply integrated with your Bronco. It knows where you are. It knows what your engine is doing. It knows what your 4×4 system is doing. It knows a lot. All this knowledge and awareness is what makes it capable of doing things that haven’t been done before. It can also make some people uncomfortable.
I’m one of those people. It’s why I asked Shane the question. There were three further questions that also concerned me:
- Where is my information stored?
- Will I be able to see what the FordPass Performance app knows about me and my Bronco?
- Will I be able to delete the stored information if I feel like doing so is in my best interest?
The answers were encouraging.
For the first question, Shane noted that there were two places where FordPass Performance stores information: on the user’s device and with Ford. The user’s device stores trail videos made with the app. When the video is created, it goes straight to your device’s camera roll. This is as close to the right answer as I feel that they can get. I control my camera roll, and to whatever extent my smartphone manufacturer sees fit, I control where the content in the camera roll goes. By storing your trail footage and the overlays with the collected vehicle data on your device, Ford essentially gets it off their plate. They dump it and presumably don’t have to deal with it from there.
The second question is tied to a more concerning data locale. Ford’s back end, cloud, servers, or whatever can be a deep dark pit for your personal data if they don’t handle it correctly. The FordPass Performance team says that you will be able to see the data that FordPass Performance back end has on you. How this will be viewed and what it will look like, we haven’t seen yet. However, it will be viewable, and more importantly, you can delete it.
That’s the third question: Can I make FordPass Performance forget that my information ever existed? According to Shane, you can delete your information from the app. Now, we don’t know how that will be done. It could be as simple as deleting a profile and deleting the app, or it could mean individually deleting trail run after trail run until they’re all gone. Ideally, users would have the ability to selectively but efficiently manage what the app knows and what it doesn’t.