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Ask Slashdot: Will Cars Eventually Need a Do-Not-Track Option?

Soulskill posted about a year and a half ago | from the could-use-one-now dept.

Government 170

Nerval's Lobster writes "Earlier this month, a very public argument erupted between Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk and New York Times reporter John Broder, who claimed in a Feb. 8 column that his electric-powered Model S sedan had ground to a halt on a lonely stretch of Connecticut highway, starved for power. Musk retaliated by publishing the data from Broder's test drive, which suggested the reporter had driven the vehicle at faster speeds than he had claimed in the article (which would have drained the battery at a quicker rate) and failed to fully charge the car at available stations. Musk seems to have let the whole thing drop, but the whole brouhaha raises a point that perhaps deserves further exploration: the rising use of sensors in cars, and whether an automobile company—or any other entity, for that matter—has the right to take data from those sensors and use it for their own ends without the owner's permission. (For his part, Musk has claimed that Tesla only turns on data logging with 'explicit written permission from customers.') What do you think, Slashdot? Do we need the equivalent of a 'Do-Not-Track' option for cars?"

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weird analogy (4, Insightful)

Quirkz (1206400) | about a year and a half ago | (#42983557)

Do not track applies because you're visiting someone else's territory. There should already be a default inability to track your car based on the same logic that I'm not allowed to place a bug on your car and track you now. Companies should have to be given explicit permission to be able to do so. Opt-in rather than opt-out.

Re:weird analogy (3, Funny)

Gabrill (556503) | about a year and a half ago | (#42984011)

By admitting the need for an opt-in requirement, you are implicitly agreeing with the need for an opt-out mechanism. You're arguing semantics.

Re:weird analogy (4, Insightful)

gstoddart (321705) | about a year and a half ago | (#42984223)

By admitting the need for an opt-in requirement, you are implicitly agreeing with the need for an opt-out mechanism. You're arguing semantics.

No, because an opt-out mechanism starts with the assumption they have the right to track your information, and you need to turn it off.

An opt-in mechanism acknowledges that you need to give them permission first.

Now ponder what opt-out for spam would function like, and ask yourself if you really think opt-out vs opt-in is a matter of semantics.

Re:weird analogy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42984493)

Not really seeing the difference.

In the US, all they will realistically have to do is bury a one-line "Purchaser/Lessee agrees to opt-in to the GM VehiTrac(tm) service" in a lease or financing agreement and that's the end of the road. Unless you read everything (very few do) and can even amend the agreement (they're not required by law to accept your amended agreement), purchase/lease will equal opt-in.

Probably significantly harder to do with a non-financed purchase, however. For new cars, that's a shockingly small minority of transactions, though.

Re:weird analogy (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42985193)

In the US, all they will realistically have to do is bury a one-line

They don't even have to do that. They only have to say it's to protect your children/protect you from terrorists/child molesters/bad people, and people will fall all over themselves to sign up for it voluntarily. Add on a clause that it lets you stay connected with your Facebook friends on the go, and there'll be no stopping people from buying it even if they have to pay extra.

Re:weird analogy (1)

in10se (472253) | about a year and a half ago | (#42984291)

As a reader of Slashdot, you should probably learn that the difference between opt-in and opt-out is more than just semantics.
They are not simply opposites of each other.

Re:weird analogy (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42984967)

As a reader of Slashdot, you should probably learn that the difference between opt-in and opt-out is more than just semantics.
They are not simply opposites of each other.

The difference in meaning between any two words (or phrases, sentences, symbols etc.) is a matter of semantics. What else could it be?

Re:weird analogy (1)

orthancstone (665890) | about a year and a half ago | (#42984031)

In a sense, this practice is already taking place via certain insurance vendors that are offering in-car devices for tracking driving data. That's strictly opt-in. So the current mentality seems to respect your point.

Consumers would do well to pressure the manufacturers to adopt a similar practice.

Re:weird analogy (1)

tlhIngan (30335) | about a year and a half ago | (#42984991)

In a sense, this practice is already taking place via certain insurance vendors that are offering in-car devices for tracking driving data. That's strictly opt-in. So the current mentality seems to respect your point.

Consumers would do well to pressure the manufacturers to adopt a similar practice.

Didn't Obama recently sign into law making it mandatory for car manufacturers to insert black boxes into all their vehicles sold? (Most do already, but there are a few that don't).

Now, granted, the law also states that the information in that black box is the property of the owner, and may not be forfeited without permission (to say, an insurance company).

Re:weird analogy (1)

sfm (195458) | about a year and a half ago | (#42985035)

Insurance companies currently have this as an "op-in choice", while evaluating the technology and statistically determining if it is a usable predictor of accidents. If it is successful for that task, I fully believe an active electronic vehicle monitor will become mandatory in order to get (affordable) insurance in the not too distant future.

Re:weird analogy (1)

orthancstone (665890) | about a year and a half ago | (#42985161)

While I certainly fear the eventual potential for that becoming mandatory by the big insurers, I think we'll likely see it as mandatory for certain groups first (elderly, teenagers) before it hits everyone. Which I still feel is bullsh, to be perfectly honest.

Re:weird analogy (1)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | about a year and a half ago | (#42984047)

This is more like a browser history file on a borrowed computer.

ALPR and cell tower tracking are more analogous to web tracking services. And then there are the insurance company "black boxes" which are analogous to Sony's CD rootkit.

Re:weird analogy (1)

PRMan (959735) | about a year and a half ago | (#42984237)

There should already be a default inability to track your car based on the same logic that I'm not allowed to place a bug on your car and track you now. Companies should have to be given explicit permission to be able to do so. Opt-in rather than opt-out.

Tell that to On-Star: http://www.hummerforums.com/forum/general-hummer-talk-6/onstar-changes-tos-tracks-you-even-when-its-turned-off-25474/page2/ [hummerforums.com]

Re:weird analogy (4, Informative)

Man On Pink Corner (1089867) | about a year and a half ago | (#42984499)

There should already be a default inability to track your car based on the same logic that I'm not allowed to place a bug on your car and track you now

Exactly. However, this was Tesla's car all along, so they were perfectly free to track it. The NYT did not own the car.

Article is pointless clickbait. No one is arguing that they should be able to track your car, only their car.

How many IP addresses (2)

miroku000 (2791465) | about a year and a half ago | (#42983571)

How many ip addresses does your car typically use? Mine usually uses 1-3. My cell phone and some times my wife's phone and my tablet. Each of these devices is being tracked because they are constantly switching between cell phone towers. In the future, (present?) I expect cars will all come with Google Maps integration and 4G with a built in wifi access point for easy tethering.

Re:How many IP addresses (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42984255)

You don't need an IP in the device to track it. If you have a wireless transponder for bridge/road tolls, those are already tracked anonymously to help predict and mitigate congestion. Non-anonymous tracking can't be too far away. Worse yet, those are entirely passive devices...no off switch or battery to remove to explicitly opt-out of possible tracking (yes, you can shield the device from radio waves, but that's harder to do with 100% certainty.)

Bad analogy (5, Informative)

SirGarlon (845873) | about a year and a half ago | (#42983581)

Given that the "Do-not-track" option is a sad joke that will never protect anyone's privacy, I am going to go with "no." What we need instead is to restore the concept of "privacy" to something normal, routine, and backed by the force of law.

Re:Bad analogy (1)

rwa2 (4391) | about a year and a half ago | (#42983899)

Let's track everyone! Make a site where you can upload your dashcam recordings, and it grinds through all the GPS log and footage to generate a big database of every license plate encountered. Then you can overlay some markers over cars of convicted sex offenders. Or politicians who have had their cars sighted at certain dens of sin and iniquity. It all depends on how you word it whether it will be banned or mandated.

Re:Bad analogy (4, Interesting)

Gabrill (556503) | about a year and a half ago | (#42984071)

You mistakenly believe that force of law is effective in privacy rights. http://www.dhs.gov/ [dhs.gov]

If you want your car to be invisible to electronic monitoring, you must drive a car with no electronic capability. I suggest one of these http://www.legendaryfind.com/ [legendaryfind.com]

Re:Bad analogy (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | about a year and a half ago | (#42984975)

If you want your car to be invisible to electronic monitoring, you must drive a car with no electronic capability.

Even my car uses electronics, and it is powered by a mechanically regulated diesel and if the electrical system asplode it keeps running until you shut it off because the fuel cut is vacuum-based. However, it cannot be tracked, because it does not have communications capability. Well actually, I lied, it does but it only has bluetooth and it's not discoverable except for the moments when I want it to be.

Re:Bad analogy (1)

isorox (205688) | about a year and a half ago | (#42985271)

You mistakenly believe that force of law is effective in privacy rights. http://www.dhs.gov/ [dhs.gov]

If you want your car to be invisible to electronic monitoring, you must drive a car with no electronic capability. I suggest one of these http://www.legendaryfind.com/ [legendaryfind.com]

Does your car have a license plate? ANPR will track that just fine.

Re:Bad analogy (3, Informative)

dkleinsc (563838) | about a year and a half ago | (#42984729)

Hey now, if the FBI can track you [wired.com] legally without a warrant, why should the car companies not have that power? (Yes, I know that SCOTUS took a similar case, but all they had to say about it was that the FBI couldn't trespass onto your property to install the device. If you, say, park your car on the street, it's fair game.)

what good would it do? (1)

Kardos (1348077) | about a year and a half ago | (#42983583)

Considering that the DNT for web browsers worked out so well, I can't see why anyone wouldn't want the false sense of security that such an idea would provide.

You have a DO NOT TRACK option, called DO NOT BUY (4, Informative)

DontScotty (978874) | about a year and a half ago | (#42983589)

You have a DO NOT TRACK option, called DO NOT BUY.

If you buy into the car with sensors, recording, logging, and reporting - then you've really put the gun to your own head and pulled the trigger, eh?

However, in the United States, driving is a privileged, not a right. Your car's position on public roadways is not private information. When your car wrecks in a suspected criminal manner - even if it is a 1957 Chevy, law enforcement gets to look at it, and record the speedometer reading if it was broken and held in place.

The more sensors, the more information.

Get informed, and make an informed decision.

Re:You have a DO NOT TRACK option, called DO NOT B (5, Insightful)

i kan reed (749298) | about a year and a half ago | (#42983641)

Highly unlikely given the likelihood of GPS-for-road-tax coming not too far down the line.

Re:You have a DO NOT TRACK option, called DO NOT B (1)

Obfuscant (592200) | about a year and a half ago | (#42984027)

Highly unlikely given the likelihood of GPS-for-road-tax coming not too far down the line.

This. +2 mod. GPS based road taxes are not an "if" proposition, they are a "when". And electric vehicles will be the final nail in the coffin, since they pay no road taxes based on gasoline usage. The governments will not let that go forever. They're already whining because government-mandated fuel efficiencies are reducing the amount of gas tax revenue, when gas usage drops to zero for a lot of cars they'll have to react.

In Oregon, they've already done studies and tests. I know one of the engineers involved. When I told her that this was going to result in tracking of every vehicle everywhere, she denied it. Of course, there was no explanation of how they would implement time and location based taxation (drive on a major highway at rush-hour taxed more than driving a back-road at midnight, and driving on private property not taxed at all) without keeping track of where and when each vehicle was driven.

Re:You have a DO NOT TRACK option, called DO NOT B (1)

evilRhino (638506) | about a year and a half ago | (#42984085)

Surely the free-market will find some private enterprise replacement for publicly funded highways without raising a new tax!

Re:You have a DO NOT TRACK option, called DO NOT B (1)

Gabrill (556503) | about a year and a half ago | (#42984265)

The free market doesn't have two constitutional clauses to cover it's back. The postal and interstate commerce clauses both specifically assign this job to the federal government.

Re:You have a DO NOT TRACK option, called DO NOT B (1)

gstoddart (321705) | about a year and a half ago | (#42984299)

Surely the free-market will find some private enterprise replacement for publicly funded highways without raising a new tax!

Yeah, they're called usage charges and tolls -- you pay either way, and in the long term the companies will probably gouge you more.

But some view it as better to pay a private company instead of the government.

Re:You have a DO NOT TRACK option, called DO NOT B (2)

Obfuscant (592200) | about a year and a half ago | (#42984345)

Surely the free-market will find some private enterprise replacement for publicly funded highways without raising a new tax!

First of all, this isn't a new tax. It's a new method of calculating who pays what for an old tax.

Second, even if you drive exclusively on private roads, your car will need to be tracked so the government can figure out how much road tax you need to pay.

The issue is not which roads you drive on, it's that you must be tracked for any time/location based road use taxes to be applied. And it isn't a question of if they will be applied, only how.

Re:You have a DO NOT TRACK option, called DO NOT B (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42984815)

Surely the free-market will find some private enterprise replacement for publicly funded highways without raising a new tax!

Maybe if you stopped caning it every day, took off the blindfold, and loosened the shackles.

Re:You have a DO NOT TRACK option, called DO NOT B (1)

lgw (121541) | about a year and a half ago | (#42984459)

This remains the most ridiculous idea I've ever heard. Here's why:

- Most road wear is caused by heavy trucks.

- Thos heavy trucks aren't being driven for fun; they're bringing goods to market that we all collectively buy.

- Thus we all cause the majority of road wear through ordinary consumption, and how much each of us drives is nearly irrelevent,

The whole "gas tax" system is a sham: the government wants every possible tax that people will tolerate paying, and because people don't understand the above they tolerate paying a gas tax, thinking it's somehow tied to the road wear they cause.

Re:You have a DO NOT TRACK option, called DO NOT B (4, Informative)

Ichijo (607641) | about a year and a half ago | (#42984809)

Thos heavy trucks aren't being driven for fun; they're bringing goods to market that we all collectively buy.

And as long as we continue to distort the market for freight transport by heavily subsidizing the trucking industry [jsonline.com] , those trucks will continue to tear up our roads (literally) and contribute to traffic congestion when much of their cargo should instead go by rail which causes much less of a problem.

I should also add that trains are three times as fuel-efficient as trucks, which means they create one-third as much air pollution. Air pollution costs us up to $1,600 per person annually. [foxnews.com]

We would all save a lot of money if the trucking industry pulled its own weight, so to speak.

Re:You have a DO NOT TRACK option, called DO NOT B (1)

dr2chase (653338) | about a year and a half ago | (#42984933)

mod parent up, please. Though in either case (truck or rail) the government's power of eminent domain is required to connect the dots.

Re:You have a DO NOT TRACK option, called DO NOT B (1)

dgatwood (11270) | about a year and a half ago | (#42984643)

GPS-based taxes are a stupid solution to a simple problem. Tax cars based on the number of miles driven. Yes, some of your miles will be spent outside your state, but other vehicles from other states will spend some of their miles in your state, so on the whole, it should roughly balance out, so long as everyone adopts the same standard. And to the extent that there is an actual imbalance caused by more people visiting a state (e.g. Florida) than leaving to visit other states, you can always make up that difference by increasing your bed tax.

And on a more selfish note, if your state assumes that all your drivers' miles are spent in your state, then if another state near you does GPS, in the best case, you'll get extra cash when their drivers cross the line, but you won't lose money if your drivers cross the line into their state. By contrast, if you choose GPS and they choose to assume that all miles are spent in their state, you'll end up paying those other states when your drivers cross the line into those other states, but you won't get anything back from them when their drivers cross the line into yours. So from a practical perspective, a state would have to be positively stupid to willingly choose GPS unless all states universally adopted that standard simultaneously.

By contrast, the "assume all miles are spent in your state" standard is one that your state can safely adopt today. And if the vehicle is a hybrid, you could allow drivers to submit gas station receipts from other states to buy down the miles based on the fact that they already paid a gas tax in another state. No GPS is needed for that. Such a solution is by far the most sane, as it has minimal impact on gasoline-based driving, while creating a much simpler, less invasive, and more easily managed scheme for electric-based driving.

Re:You have a DO NOT TRACK option, called DO NOT B (2)

h4rr4r (612664) | about a year and a half ago | (#42984409)

Why not just use the odometer?

Sure you might drive out of state, but other people will drive in your state as well so it should come out in the wash.

Open-source project needed (1)

alispguru (72689) | about a year and a half ago | (#42984449)

A box that has a GPS unit and a database of state boundaries. It is attached to your car, and it logs how far your car moves within each state. It does no long-term path logging - its only purpose is so you can bring it to your state DMV once a year, get its totals read for your state, and get a bill for highway maintenance.

This thing must be open-source, so we can all trust that it's not a Big Brother tracking box.

Re:You have a DO NOT TRACK option, called DO NOT B (1)

Capt.DrumkenBum (1173011) | about a year and a half ago | (#42984591)

GPS-for-road-tax

Won't and can't work. My car is 24 years old. I know what every single part is, and you can probably find my fingerprints on all of them. There is no way to attach a device like this that I can't disable or remove it.

Re:You have a DO NOT TRACK option, called DO NOT B (1)

drkim (1559875) | about a year and a half ago | (#42985147)

GPS-for-road-tax

Won't and can't work. My car is 24 years old. I know what every single part is, and you can probably find my fingerprints on all of them. There is no way to attach a device like this that I can't disable or remove it.

Not the point.

Once this is government mandated, you will have to carry this with you - just like having plates, registration and proof of insurance. If they stop you, and you don't have it, they will fine/impound you.

Re:You have a DO NOT TRACK option, called DO NOT B (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42985031)

there's already a road tax in the purchase of gasoline/diesel. we don't need more.

Re:You have a DO NOT TRACK option, called DO NOT B (1)

joe_frisch (1366229) | about a year and a half ago | (#42984773)

Unfortunately "do not buy" my not be practical. When production cars are all equipped with GPS monitoring (as is likely) how do I "not buy" if I want to drive. Sure you can not drive, not use a cell phone, not travel by air, not use a credit card, not use the internet etc, but the impact on your standard of living is very large if you wan't to avoid being tracked.

Just wanted to point out (5, Informative)

Grayhand (2610049) | about a year and a half ago | (#42983605)

It's a great topic but a poor example. The car was on loan for testing and a reviewer should not assume they have privacy rights for the obvious reason this story points out that the reviewer lied in the reviewer and was caught by the black box and it wasn't their car. Now if the reviewer had purchased the car things might have been different. Personally I dislike black boxes and we should always assume they are turned on since it can be done without our permission. An example being the police.

Re:Just wanted to point out (1)

postbigbang (761081) | about a year and a half ago | (#42983927)

I believe it ought to be opt-in. If you're a reviewer, opt-in for corroboration is a good idea-- but up to the honesty and revealed perspective of the reviewer, ultimately.

My personal choice is: no data is recorded unless I chose it, knowingly and willingly and without repudiation. Otherwise, I don't believe their coders, and I want to see source before you accuse me of anything. Then, under tested third party conditions, that code has to be corroborated through empirical testing. Otherwise, your code can lie like a rug about my testing of the upper-end-limits of engine revving, and so forth.

Re:Just wanted to point out (2)

PRMan (959735) | about a year and a half ago | (#42984277)

Tesla maintains that it was part of the contract and was done above-board. Whether the reporter knew it or not was up to his bosses at the NYT.

Re:Just wanted to point out (1)

blueg3 (192743) | about a year and a half ago | (#42984205)

The car was on loan for testing and a reviewer should not assume they have privacy rights...

Particularly since apparently they're informed of this in advance.

Re:Just wanted to point out (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42984217)

According to Musk, Broder signed a loan agreement when he picked up the car and there was a clause in the agreement that stated that the vehicle had telemetry installed. Broder should have read the stuff he was signing, as he gave written permission for the vehicle to be monitored.

Nobody is suggesting this level of monitoring should be applied to all vehicles. However, all car manufacturers put this sort of telemetry in their development vehicles these days. Car rental companies are already collecting a lot of this data also.

Re:Just wanted to point out (1)

swilde23 (874551) | about a year and a half ago | (#42984337)

Can we mod this parent up to 6 and all the other people missing this very point down to "off-topic"?

Seriously, apples and oranges. Tesla's cars were being "tracked" because they were in a car being reviewed... AND the reviewer knew about it prior to even getting in the car.

Re:Just wanted to point out (1)

sunderland56 (621843) | about a year and a half ago | (#42984719)

Absolutely. In this case the data was collected with the owner's permission, since the car's owner was, and still is, Tesla Motors.

Yes. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42983609)

Let's have a Do Not Track for cars. It should be just as effective as all the other Do Not Tracks we have.

i.e. totally and completely useless.

Betteridge's law once again. (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42983631)

No.

This was a test drive in a specially prepared loaner car from the manufacturer, which the reporter got to drive for free. The reporter knew the deal he (or his employer) would have signed a stack of releases in order to drive it.

Even with an eye to the future where such logging is widespread, we don't need any kind of "do-not-track"; we do need courts to recognize that information stored on our devices is equivalent to the "papers and effects" in our homes, and thus cannot be searched or seized without due process.

Re:Betteridge's law once again. (4, Insightful)

hawguy (1600213) | about a year and a half ago | (#42983717)

No.

This was a test drive in a specially prepared loaner car from the manufacturer, which the reporter got to drive for free. The reporter knew the deal he (or his employer) would have signed a stack of releases in order to drive it.

Even with an eye to the future where such logging is widespread, we don't need any kind of "do-not-track"; we do need courts to recognize that information stored on our devices is equivalent to the "papers and effects" in our homes, and thus cannot be searched or seized without due process.

If the new sensors and tracking spawn any kind of legislation, I'd rather that the legislation be geared toward ensuing open access -- make the manufacturers publish API's and data formats for the data that the car tracks so I can use the data as I want. Let me read the "black box" if I want to, don't tell me "Oh, you need this $20,000 diagnostic computer to read it, then you have to send the data to us for analysis".

Test car (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42983647)

My understanding was that the log was accessed because this was a test car that was returned to Tesla afterwards.

While I'm sure they can access any logs, whenever they want, I don't see it as a bigger threat than having a smartphone.

In fine Slashdot tradition (4, Insightful)

Imagix (695350) | about a year and a half ago | (#42983655)

For any question asked in the subject line, the correct answer is no. For the specific example cited, it _was_ the owner of the car (Tesla) that was using the collected data as they saw fit. The only reason that this is being raised as an issue is because the reporter got caught trying to fudge the results, and now trying to cry foul (Reminds me of the scene from "Liar, Liar": "FR: Your honor, I object!" "Judge: Why?" "FR: Because it's devastating to my case!"). I bet there would be absolutely no issue if Tesla had come out and said that the data corroborated the reporter's story. Actually, I'm willing to bet that there would have been a big ruckus made if the data did show that and Tesla refused to release it.

Re:In fine Slashdot tradition (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42984165)

I suppose someone could make the argument that there's a reasonable expectation of privacy while driving a car, but that person would be an idiot. If I loan you my brand new car, you can damned well be sure that I'll be using everything available to me to audit your activities while temporarily granted access to my resources.

Hmm, that last sentence makes me sound like a security-focused sysadmin. Weird. ;)

Equivalent of a 'Do-Not-Track'? (1)

Tailhook (98486) | about a year and a half ago | (#42983671)

You mean the Do-Not-Track that is almost universally ignored [slashdot.org] ? Yeah, lets do that. It's sure to work this time.

Obama has already mandated [huffingtonpost.com] black-boxes for all new vehical by 2014. Both the EPA and the IRS are going to paw that eventually.

Game over, sheeple.

Re:Equivalent of a 'Do-Not-Track'? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42983785)

Both the EPA and the IRS

Not to mention the crash investigators, insurance companies and the plaintiffs at your civil trial.

Re:Equivalent of a 'Do-Not-Track'? (1)

Ol Olsoc (1175323) | about a year and a half ago | (#42984295)

Both the EPA and the IRS

Not to mention the crash investigators, insurance companies and the plaintiffs at your civil trial.

And then the black helicopters will whick you away to an undisclosed location, where you will undergo extraordinary rendition.

As much as a black box might just condemn you, it might exonerate you also. And what is worse, we probably already have one, sitting in our vehicles, collecting data on speed, braking, safety belt usage, accelerator position, steering position and force of impact.

The boxes are called EDR's, or Event Data Recorders.

Re:Equivalent of a 'Do-Not-Track'? (1)

JeanCroix (99825) | about a year and a half ago | (#42984079)

I am currently buying up and refurbishing as many pre-black box vehicles as possible in anticipation of opening up "'Don't Track Me Bro!' Used Cars" in 2015 - coming soon to a vacant lot near you! Burner phones are a lucrative market, why not burner cars?

Re:Equivalent of a 'Do-Not-Track'? (1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | about a year and a half ago | (#42984487)

Come up with a better euphemism, "burner cars" just might not work out so well.

tracking and logging are different (1)

alen (225700) | about a year and a half ago | (#42983707)

onstar has an actual cell phone in the car that tracks your car and can be used in emergencies. its different than having a map on an internal computer and logging the GPS data of your driving habits.

there is a very good reason for tracking GPS and driving data of a car and uploading an annonymized version to the manufacturers systems for post-sale support when you take your car in for service

Re:tracking and logging are different (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42983925)

Related to this, someone posted on a corvette forum that they got in a wreck while drag racing. Onstar logged the crash data, and insurance checked...oh, look - he was at a drag strip, involved in a high speed crash. DENIED.

Nissan's approach (4, Informative)

swillden (191260) | about a year and a half ago | (#42983725)

My Nissan LEAF also tracks all your driving. Nissan's solution to the question of privacy is to pop a dialog on the in-dash touchscreen every time the car is started, asking you if you want to send your data to them. Unless you press "Yes", that drive is not tracked.

People actually exploit this to game the driving efficiency rankings. Hop in, hit "No", drive to the top of a hill, then turn the car off and on, hit "Yes" and coast to the bottom of the hill. Do that a little and you can look like you regularly achieve 20+ miles per kWh.

Too late, all cars do this. (1)

cachimaster (127194) | about a year and a half ago | (#42983739)

Every car since 1990 logs dozens of internal variables that you can access via this [wikipedia.org] protocol. No different that what tesla does. They didn't track the guy via GPS, they only published charge/discharge patterns from the battery.

Re:Too late, all cars do this. (1)

spongebue (925835) | about a year and a half ago | (#42983911)

There's a difference between OBD (real-time vehicle status and logged engine issues) and everything a present-day vehicle can log. A very large difference.

Re:Too late, all cars do this. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42984257)

Yes, there is a wealth of data from OBD and OBD2. I know this first hand because I work for a company that tracks fleet vehicles with devices that pull that information and GPS and sends it back to our servers via cell so managers can track vehicles. You can then do reports, set alarms on landmarks, check speeding, etc. We also do work to compare fuel card use with actual mileage/speed driven in that vehicle to do detection on if operators are using their cards for something other that their vehicle.

This is all opt-in by the owners of the vehicles, of course, and the OBD2 port is actually pretty visible from most driver's seats, but there are also "stealth" installation methods as well. Devices like this could easily be used for tracking many details about vehicles covertly and reporting back in near-realtime.

They might... (3, Insightful)

SeaFox (739806) | about a year and a half ago | (#42983783)

... but you wont get one.

The insurance industry lobby and DHS will see to that.

The correct answer is ... maybe (1)

mykepredko (40154) | about a year and a half ago | (#42983815)

Wouldn't the best answer for an individual be based on their driving habits and history?

If you tended to stay at the speed limit (or reasonably above according to traffic), were a defensive driver and were reasonably confident that you wouldn't cause an accident, wouldn't you want tracking on to show that it's the other guys fault?

Depending on your hubris level, the next step is a dashboard camera because clearly you are never going to cause an accident - right?

myke

Nissan GT-R has a void-warranty button (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42983889)

It has a button that if you push it, it instantly voids your warranty. That said, I just tried to look up what that button is and what it does (I read this years ago, give me a break) - I see that it tracks via GPS where you are, so if you're on a track...insta-void.

Please track me (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42983891)

would be a better option. Off, by default, of course.

Obscure+ignorant, public+informed. Pick. (3, Insightful)

ShieldW0lf (601553) | about a year and a half ago | (#42983907)

I think tracking should be mandatory, and that it should be accessible to all people. You should be able to know where I am at all times, and I should be able to know where you are at all times, and people who take steps to create obscurity around themselves should be treated as untrustworthy.

Which is nice, because what I think should happen is going to happen regardless of how much a few vocal people bitch about it. This and previous generations of man have taken their own ignorance for granted and see no loss in accepting ignorance in exchange for the competitive advantage secrecy grants them. The up and coming generation of man has the internet at their finger tips, they feel entitled to be informed, and they prefer celebrity to privacy.

Those people will think currently popular views on privacy are primitive, naive and outdated. Just like I do.

Re:Obscure+ignorant, public+informed. Pick. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42984083)

So where are you at the moment?

Re:Obscure+ignorant, public+informed. Pick. (3)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | about a year and a half ago | (#42984751)

You should be able to know where I am at all times, and I should be able to know where you are at all times, and people who take steps to create obscurity around themselves should be treated as untrustworthy.

Yeah, not going to happen. The people with power will be able to game the system - they will figure out (or more likely hire) people to create false trails. Thinking that a panopticon society could ever be a level playing field is to ignore basically all of recorded history.

Re:Obscure+ignorant, public+informed. Pick. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42984761)

Fucking bullshit. Go die in a fire.

Re:Obscure+ignorant, public+informed. Pick. (1)

King_TJ (85913) | about a year and a half ago | (#42984901)

Maybe you're just trying to troll with this comment (especially on a site like Slashdot, where it's clear the majority holds an opposing view)?

But I'll respond anyway, because I have no doubt SOME people out there feel this way about privacy.

1. Why would you advocate mandatory tracking of people? This in no way equates to enforcing a right people traditionally had anywhere on the planet. Regardless of your opinion on the legality of having the ABILITY to do such a thing, a demand that it become a REQUIREMENT for everyone amounts to no less than declaring a new basic human, inalienable right that didn't exist before. That's a pretty tall order, don't you think?

2. Right now, I think what we're struggling with is an over-saturation of information. Technology has given us the capability to monitor, track and store so many different things, we're burying ourselves in data! There's a reason some of the most successful companies today are pushing search engines (Microsoft Bing waging an advertising war on Google search, etc.). We're able to collect so much data, it's becoming completely useless without tools to sift through the whole mess, to find what someone actually needs. I don't see much value in demanding we collect MORE data on everyone's whereabouts at every moment in time. I mean, when do we stop pouring data into storage devices just because we CAN do it, and start asking ourselves what's really worth collecting?

3. You make a claim that mankind will increasingly value celebrity over privacy. I'd say that if so, that simply reflects poorly on our collective ability to reason. The desire for celebrity is usually a very short-sighted one. Basically, it amounts to a person chasing after impulses rather than thinking about the long-term ramifications of their decisions. If you ask the "experts" on this subject, meaning actual celebrities who have been in the public eye for decades? I'm pretty sure most of them would tell you how much they despise the paparazzi trying to photograph them at every turn, and the reporters constantly trying to corner them to ask them personal questions. They lost pretty much any privacy they had when they became big celebrities, and it wasn't really a conscious choice so much as an unwanted side-effect for most of them.

Re:Obscure+ignorant, public+informed. Pick. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42984941)

... they feel entitled to be informed ...

And when people see you went to the brothel, the abortion clinic, the pro-gun rally, the anti-war protest, they will feel entitled to bomb your car.

The 'truth will set you free' has a major flaw. Namely, most people "can't handle the truth". Most social norms are idealistic or just contrary to human nature so people spend a lot of time hiding their failure of being 'normal'. Worse, a number of people think their rules for society are better than yours and will enforce their version at gun-point.

Welcome (4, Funny)

puddingebola (2036796) | about a year and a half ago | (#42983929)

Greetings undercover CIA personnel, welcome to glorious leader's free wi-fi access. Please feel free to communicate with your contacts and login to accounts and databases in United States and Japan. All communications 100% encrypted by glorious leader himself, ensuring the utmost confidentiality in communications. Also, please friend and like us on Facebook.

The Question Is Moot (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42983959)

There are plenty of cars to choose from that do not contain tracking technology. I'll buy one of them.

Re:The Question Is Moot (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42985213)

Until there aren't plenty in a few years. It's also hell of unreasonable, short sighted, and cunty of parent to expect kids born after 2010 or so to buy cars older than they are.

Active Anti-Tracking Would Be Very Complicated (1)

Freshly Exhumed (105597) | about a year and a half ago | (#42983979)

Trusting others to not track our vehicles is idealistic and naive. Active anti-tracking would be required. So, what are the ways in which your vehicle might be tracked? Well, one has to contend with radar, satellite, mobile phone towers, drones, and human vision, amongst others. Assuming you don't mind not receiving any external signals while driving, the geek solution would be to envelop your vehicle in a Faraday Cage [wikipedia.org] , then cover that external structure with some low visibility camouflage, low reflectivity material in the IR, UV, and X-ray ranges, and also a layer of crushed glass glued onto the roof to mess up optical sensors. An acoustic cancellation system would help to reduce the vehicle's audible signature, and vehicle heat dispersal would need to be ducted in a tightly focused jet directed at randomly selected azimuths for short durations.

Sounds like quite a lot of work.

Re:Active Anti-Tracking Would Be Very Complicated (1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | about a year and a half ago | (#42984559)

Would probably end up looking something like this [theatlantic.com]

Who do you trust? (1, Interesting)

DNS-and-BIND (461968) | about a year and a half ago | (#42984017)

Who do you trust? A reporter for the New York Times, or a corporate CEO? This is a no-brainer, people. One has the exposure of lies and the safety of the people in mind. The other has only corporate profits to think of. Which one do you trust?

Re:Who do you trust? (1)

Cornwallis (1188489) | about a year and a half ago | (#42984091)

*Very* well done...

Re:Who do you trust? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42984201)

Uh, what? You mean one has the sensationalism of his story in mind (which leads to sales of the paper which leads to corporate profits), and the other has corporate profits to think of.

There are very few reporters these days that actually report the truth.

Re:Who do you trust? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42984235)

You're right. NYT seems pretty interested in profits above all else, and Tesla seems pretty interested in exposing the lies of a reporter and in keeping people safe.

Or on the other hand... (1)

Minwee (522556) | about a year and a half ago | (#42984057)

Perhaps there should be a "Do-Not-Lie-Through-Your-Teeth" option for journalists.

It would have solved the same problem that Tesla's black box did.

Do not Call? (2)

AcesDnied (2542270) | about a year and a half ago | (#42984115)

Oh wait, I signed up for that and it didn't work. Why would I think this "option" would be treated any different?

Do Not Track - How about Do Not Log (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42984139)

This is only part of the problem. The current "black box" recording is now being used regularly in court cases. No one gives permission for that recording either, but some data is required to make the airbags work right. Where's the line? Will we end up giving de facto permission when we sign our vehicle registration or drivers license forms?

Mandated to be already in all cars by 2013 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42984159)

The whole Do not track all new cars are having a black box that will save at least the 5 seconds of a trip that can be pulled in case of an accident that shows what the car was doing before the accident happened. http://blogs.computerworld.com/20109/busted_your_cars_black_box_is_spying_may_be_used_against_you_in_court [computerworld.com]

The whole thing with this guy is that he got a free ride and then tried to make it look like the car was bad and apparently got caught. His argument should have been in the real world people will not be following exactly what the car manufacture said. Will someone wait at a fill up station for the car to be 100% when they leave. No. Will they not drive in circles to find the best parking spot. Yes. When he said he got bad advice about driving with the heater on is really a so what type situation in I can see in the summer it would have been a drive with the air on.

Life (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42984207)

Can I get a "do not track" option for my whole life?

(No? Well, it was a nice thought.)

Wrong ?: US Govt Wants the Data (2)

BoRegardless (721219) | about a year and a half ago | (#42984229)

Tyrannical nature of large governments is to "tax" miles driven (San Francisco) & grow, thus requiring built-in monitoring as a means of tracking you any time they want. Then they "fine" you if you disable the monitoring or help others do it.

Our founders were aware of governments to become self-growing, cancer like entities.

Wire cutters are my "do not track" (1)

kheldan (1460303) | about a year and a half ago | (#42984271)

I wouldn't own a vehicle that was being tracked. Where I go and when I go there is nobody's damned business.

Re:Wire cutters are my "do not track" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42984645)

The laws will be updated so that doing that will fail all annual inspections, so you wouldn't be allowed to take that vehicle on the streets. Have fun in your driveway.

This is a THINLY disguised ad for Tesla. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42984371)

Elon Musk is a con artist.

The Tesla is a toy for the wealthy.

This article is hyperbolic BULLSHIT.

And the people who run Slashdot now are worthless pieces of shit.

Re:This is a THINLY disguised ad for Tesla. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42984589)

The Tesla is a toy for the wealthy.

Gee, surprise, some of us actually have jobs that pay more than minimum wage. Must drive you crazy, huh?

License plates ALREADY track cars effectively. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42984597)

And though many of you don't know this, many of the cameras which are deployed
on major highway in the US also have face-reco capability because they are linked
to remote computers which do the reco.

You live in a police state, you morons.

And your "freedom" is an illusion designed to pacify you, nothing more.

Drones are being used domestically. All the rest of the tech which has been developed
for fighting "the war on terror" ( which is really a war of US aggression meant to secure
access to natural resources in other countries which are deemed important ) WILL be
used against Americans. Most of you idiots will believe that all such uses are justified
until you are the target, at which time your tiny little brains will finally realize that things
have taken a horrifying turn for the worse.

--

Do not track? (1)

no-body (127863) | about a year and a half ago | (#42984641)

In this day and age - get a life!
Any opportunity to play with a new gadget and opportunity of tracking will be tried and used.

It's only for your own good...

This is wrong (1)

Vrtigo1 (1303147) | about a year and a half ago | (#42984649)

The test drive TFA is referring to was in a car owned by Tesla which was loaned to the reported for the purpose of writing the article. Tesla acquired the logs after he returned the car to them. So to summarize, the reporter drove Tesla's car, and TFA wants us to be upset that Tesla analyzed the logs from the test drive that was taken in THEIR car.

How is this ANY different than virtually every other car that's been sold in the past 5 years? Cars have the equivalent of airplane "black boxes" that record speed, whether your seat belt was fastened, etc. This data can be used in court if someone claims that their car caused them serious injury. Many times the automaker will bring out logs that shows the owner was speeding and/or not wearing their safety belt.

Automakers also routinely pull these logs when you take your car in for service. They track how long you've been driving between oil changes, so for example if your engine breaks down prematurely, they can show that you routinely miss the recommended scheduled maintenance intervals. I don't see how this is any different from a web administrator using website logs to diagnose a problem when a user reports it.

Now if we're talking about detailed location data, then I think there ought to be a justifiable reason for the manufacturer to be able to look at that. Perhaps we could extend that to the traditional right to privacy and require a search warrant to obtain that information.

The data must be always gathered (1)

cribera (2560179) | about a year and a half ago | (#42984733)

Perhaps there could be constraints in making it public. But in case of needs, a warrant should allow to analyze the data. It's absurd not to gather data when it can be done. A lot of problems can be prevented using the data in a wise way.

SPEAKING TO YOU FROM THE DISTANT PAST (1)

Medievalist (16032) | about a year and a half ago | (#42984883)

Here in the 20th century, we have the ability to track your car from a distance without your knowledge.

I understand that in the 21st century you monkeymen no longer have satellites, planes, surveillance drones, or cameras, though. You maniacs! You blew it up! Ah, damn you! God damn you all to hell!

It's not your car (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42985139)

It's not your car to decide whether you get to lock down the data. A certificate of title is only granting you exclusive use of the property, provided you keep government informed as to your location of residence at all times, and pay the necessary taxes.

If you do not pay those taxes, or if you fail to do your duties as the possessor of the vehicle, the government can and will just show up and take it.

When you "purchase" a vehicle, you are only purchasing the right to be the exclusive possessor and user of the government's property.

Michael Badnarik explains all of it from a legal sense, in easily digestible talks on his website and on youtube in his constitution classes.

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