As we’ve written previously on this degenerate blog, it’s in your interest to read most of what Geoffrey A. Fowler writes. Your smartphone has your DNA on file. Amazon knows what toothpaste you use. Google has a complete list of things you have nightmares about. Now your car is in on the game.
When I renewed my auto insurance policy Allstate tried to get shovey with me and do the driver monitoring program. Supposedly if you drive safely (I don’t) you get a discount on your insurance bill. The discount is probably like $5 a month. In exchange Allstate (and other auto insurance companies doing the same thing) probably go ahead and sell all your personal data for $15 a month. Naturally, I declined.
But all these auto insurance programs run via the app on your smartphone. In the future, it’s the car itself that will spy on you.
Fowler wanted to determine how much data and what kind of data a car was collecting. This (of course) was not an easy task:
But for the thousands you spend to buy a car, the data it produces doesn’t belong to you. My Chevy’s dashboard didn’t say what the car was recording. It wasn’t in the owner’s manual. There was no way to download it. To glimpse my car data, I had to hack my way in.
That’s right folks! The law is so loose and the Giant Octopus is so brazen that the only way Fowler could figure out what personal data was being pulled and sold was to hack the freaking car.
They also hacked another car computer they bought off the Internets:
For a broader view, Mason also extracted the data from a Chevrolet infotainment computer that I bought used on eBay for $375. It contained enough data to reconstruct the Upstate New York travels and relationships of a total stranger. We know he or she frequently called someone listed as “Sweetie,” whose photo we also have. We could see the exact Gulf station where they bought gas, the restaurant where they ate (called Taste China) and the unique identifiers for their Samsung Galaxy Note phones.
Maybe we should all just get it over with and let the Giant Octopus put the monitoring chip in our brains? It’d be quicker in the end.
The only other option is regression. Want a car that doesn’t spy on your without your knowledge? Buy a 1995 Ford. Want a fridge that doesn’t track what tasty food is contained therein? Buy one of those neato 1940’s fridges from the movies.
We’re doomed. We work for the Giant Octopus and most folks don’t even know it, or care.
Enjoy your day!