Beta

Slashdot: News for Nerds

×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

LoJack To Release Tracking Devices For Consumers, Insurance, and Auto Makers

samzenpus posted about 7 months ago | from the where-are-you-going? dept.

Privacy 144

Lucas123 writes "Next year, LoJack plans to come out with a telematics system that will allow parents to track their children's cars, auto makers to record vehicle diagnostics and insurance companies to review driving habits as the basis of rate quotes. LoJack said the wireless tracking systems will likely come in several forms, including a OBD II plug-in dongle as well as a factory installable model. The company said it has no plans to sell any information collected through a cloud service connected to the devices, but to only share it with stakeholders — either vehicle owners or businesses that have been given the OK to collect and use the data. Additional features will include the ability for parents to set up geo fences to restrict where their children can drive before alerts can sent as well as the ability to restrict and texting while the vehicle is being operated."

cancel ×

144 comments

Hahaha (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45519631)

The company said it has no plans to sell any information collected through a cloud service connected to the devices

And you'd be an idiot to think they won't silently change this in an EULA update.

Re:Hahaha (4, Insightful)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | about 7 months ago | (#45520005)

"And you'd be an idiot to think they won't silently change this in an EULA update."

You'd be an idiot to agree to this at all. But you make a good point:

This pervasive surveillance did not come about by accident. It came about by consumers (and others) agreeing to a little bit here, and a little bit there, because "it will never be used THAT way..." And of course, eventually it IS used exactly that way.

Consumers -- and citizens in general -- MUST get it through their heads that if they give away to somebody the ability to do something, including things that have the potential to steal away their privacy, eventually it will be used in just that way. History is full of such lessons.

Just don't give it to them in the first place! The potential good is far outweighed by the potential harm. As Lyndon Johnson (not one of my favorite people) said about this kind of thing: "You do not examine legislation in the light of the benefits it will convey if properly administered, but in the light of the wrongs it would do and the harms it would cause if improperly administered."

This is true, not just of legislation, but of technology too. There are some ways it should not be used. If you let it, the consequences will be bad. It's that simple.

Re:Hahaha (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45520643)

I don't doubt your attribution of the quote, but for a guy who had a foul mouth that rivaled mine (i.e. really fucking bad), I'm kind of surprised how insightful and true his statement was/is.

Re:Hahaha (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45520653)

Being here in Texas, Lyndon Johnson saying such a thing is quite incredible, knowing how corrupted he was.

Re:Hahaha (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45520683)

As Lyndon Johnson (not one of my favorite people) said about this kind of thing: "You do not examine legislation in the light of the benefits it will convey if properly administered, but in the light of the wrongs it would do and the harms it would cause if improperly administered."

Amazing how little even contemporary lawmakers remember their own history. Like, oh, that PATRIOT ACT shmuck, when he admitted in public that it wasn't such a great idea after all. Ultimate admittance of complete failure to do your job properly.

And, well, basically every other law people got up in arms about. ACTA and its tribbles, but even DMCA is now being increasingly abused, as has been predicted from the start. Except perhaps the part where the abuse comes from fully automated spambots run by big media and their contractors. So we didn't expect the scale, but we did expect abuse, and oh boy did we get it. Where "we" includes the whole world. But that's not the point. The point is that the lawmakers didn't do their homework. And they really don't have any excuse.

Re:Hahaha (1)

tibit (1762298) | about 8 months ago | (#45520723)

Especially if such ability is merely a software update away. That's really what people don't get. You get a cellphone, it's one remote and silent software update away from being turned into a snooping device that constantly records the audio and GPS location data, and periodically uploads it to a server somewhere. That's assuming that such functionality isn't present in the software from Day 1.

Re:Hahaha (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45521199)

Yeah it's like the new Samsung TVs.

Yes there is a camera watching your living room 24/7.

But don't worry, our robust privacy policy* will protect you from all of the ways it could be abused.

*Policy subject to any change at any time.

Re:Hahaha (2)

Mitreya (579078) | about 7 months ago | (#45520027)

The company said it has no plans to sell any information collected through a cloud service connected to the devices

And you'd be an idiot to think they won't silently change this in an EULA update.

They don't have to!
There currently are "no plans", mostly because they first need to collect the data before they can properly price it.

It would also be able to restrict talking or texting on a smartphone while a vehicle is in operation.

Ok, that is just creepy. How about extending that to forced ads?
"Watch this commercial and you can talk on your phone for the next two days while you are driving"

Re:Hahaha (2)

amiga3D (567632) | about 7 months ago | (#45520169)

Soon enough we'll have a government mandate for this anyway. Think of how safe we'll be from the terrorists.

Re:Hahaha (4, Interesting)

GIL_Dude (850471) | about 7 months ago | (#45520177)

If it was designed properly, they would not HAVE any information to sell (or leak when hacked). If, for example, I bought such a device for my kid's car, I would expect that the information it sends (including any unique identifier like a serial number in the equipment) is sent encrypted by my public key to the cloud service along with an unencrypted number representing ME (so that it can route to me in their system). I would have an application on my computer, tablet, etc. into which I could put my private key / certificate. It would download the encrypted information and decrypt it locally. Anything less - nope! No sale. If they are able to do alerts and geo fencing - it is clear that they get the information on location unecrypted and can access it. I would not want to get such a system...

Re:Hahaha (1)

tibit (1762298) | about 8 months ago | (#45520751)

You do realize, I hope, that, like, half of the words you have used in your post wouldn't even be understood by the people this will be marketed to? Yeah, sure as heck I'd like it to be designed the way you describe. Care for starting a Kickstarter campaign for such a product? Because I'm up. LoJack is a seriously shady outfit, as far as I'm concerned they'll be selling the data to guys who want to stalk teenage girls.

Re:Hahaha (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45521033)

You don't get it. It could be done using per-account encryption and the consumer wouldn't have to know anything about it. All the hard stuff could be hidden. This is all just a software problem. It can be done more privacy-enhancing - but they *choose not to*

Re:Hahaha (1)

Ol Olsoc (1175323) | about 8 months ago | (#45520881)

If it was designed properly, they would not HAVE any information to sell (or leak when hacked).

Well then how the hell are they going to sell your info then. Sheesh! you are the product. Now get out there and buy shit.

If it can be collected, it will. And if it can be monetized, well duh!

I don't get it. (2)

teebob21 (947095) | about 7 months ago | (#45519643)

Why is this news? Is it just the consumer commoditization of what businesses have been doing for years? Vehicles + GPS + Web Interface = Big Brother? Whoopee.

I've been supporting deployments of vehicle GPS, geofences, and automatic alerts for years. Maybe that why this article is so underwhelming.

Also, it reads like an advertisement.

Re:I don't get it. (3, Funny)

aardvarkjoe (156801) | about 7 months ago | (#45519665)

Also, it reads like an advertisement.

Not true. Advertisers typically proofread their text for blatant mistakes before publishing it.

Re:I don't get it. (2)

FlyHelicopters (1540845) | about 7 months ago | (#45519745)

It does read like an advertisement, but it is one that, as a parent, I want to read.

I fully want this in the cars my kids drive in a few years. I recall very well my driving habits when I was 16, and they were terrible.

If my kids don't want this, they can buy their own cars and pay their own insurance. If they want to drive my cars... well... :)

Welcome to Daddy, "a.k.a. Big Brother". :)

Re:I don't get it. (1)

Travis Mansbridge (830557) | about 7 months ago | (#45519793)

You plan to prevent your child's reckless behavior through constant monitoring? Teaching them good judgment, and then allowing them to practice that judgment on their own seems like the more important lesson. Then again, I don't have kids.

Re:I don't get it. (2)

noh8rz10 (2716597) | about 7 months ago | (#45519871)

there's no need to track your childrens' cars, as the summary says. children shouldn't have cars, they're too young. case closed.

Re:I don't get it. (1, Informative)

kheldan (1460303) | about 7 months ago | (#45519983)

Since nobody can discipline their children these days without being accused of child abuse and being jailed/having them taken away from you, kids do whatever the fuck they want and parents can't do much about it other than monitor them obsessively like this.

Re:I don't get it. (1)

tibit (1762298) | about 8 months ago | (#45520771)

How the heck does monitoring help? If they do stupid shit and get into a wreck, it's too fucking late, monitoring or not. Monitoring your kid is useless.

Re:I don't get it. (1)

geekoid (135745) | about 8 months ago | (#45521003)

"Since nobody can discipline their children these days"
false
" without being accused of child abuse"
false
"and being jailed/having them taken away from you"
false
" kids do whatever the fuck they want"
false
"parents can't do much about it "
false

STFU and never be a parent because you are stupid.

Re:I don't get it. (0)

kheldan (1460303) | about 8 months ago | (#45522139)

I'm surprised you have enough functioning brain cells to operate a computer well enough to even post comments here. If you're a parent then I will lose all hope for the next generation because you sound like a child yourself, or is that just damage from the drug addiction talking?

Re:I don't get it. (1)

Ralph Wiggam (22354) | about 7 months ago | (#45520011)

Then again, I don't have kids.

I'm shocked. I was sure you were a parenting expert with 6 kids, up until that last sentence.

Re:I don't get it. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45520581)

It's easy to see who the parenting experts are; they are the ones who are smart enough to not have kids.

Re:I don't get it. (3, Insightful)

mythosaz (572040) | about 7 months ago | (#45520023)

I've taught my daughter to be responsible.

...that doesn't mean I shouldn't be notified if she's had a lapse in that responsibility.

Kids should break a few rules. That's part of growing up. Getting alerted on it and going all batshit crazy about it are two different things. I'll respond appropriately when my kid sneaks her first beer or stays out past curfew or pretends her friends parents are home when she stays the night somewhere. Now that I'm an old man, I know I didn't get nearly as much past my parents as I thought I did. :)

Re:I don't get it. (1)

mjwx (966435) | about 8 months ago | (#45521893)

Kids should break a few rules. That's part of growing up. Getting alerted on it and going all batshit crazy about it are two different things. I'll respond appropriately when my kid sneaks her first beer or stays out past curfew or pretends her friends parents are home when she stays the night somewhere. Now that I'm an old man, I know I didn't get nearly as much past my parents as I thought I did. :)

+1 But unfortunately this system is designed for those who go batshit crazy.

Admittedly the nerd in me like tracking my own car, not just location and speed but a whole bunch of engine statistics including fuel usage, intake pressure, boost pressure, G forces and more. To this effect I already have a bluetooth OBDII dongle and a el cheap-o Android tablet with Torque installed in the glove box. If I wanted to track the car remotely I guess I could use a slightly less el cheap-o tablet or phone with 3G capabilities.

However I would emphatically not trust another company to do the same thing end to end.

Re:I don't get it. (1)

bob_super (3391281) | about 7 months ago | (#45520095)

Well, since we let our electronics teach our children, we might as well let the electronics teach the limits too.

This way the kids will be used to it, when it's the state's turn to provide them with ankle toys...

Re:I don't get it. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45520287)

Then again, I don't have kids.

Saying that was a bad mistake. You invited the more illogical parents (who also believe that anyone who disagrees with them isn't a parent) to dismiss everything you said simply because of that.

Re:I don't get it. (1)

Travis Mansbridge (830557) | about 7 months ago | (#45520335)

It's an honest admission to wrap up an honest question, I'm glad to get parents reactions whatever they are. When I was growing up, monitoring your child's location at all times might be considered an invasion of privacy, but judging from most of these responses times have changed.

Re:I don't get it. (1)

geekoid (135745) | about 8 months ago | (#45521023)

I can't think of anytime in history where knowing where you children* are would be considers an invasion of privacy.
It just was practical to do on this level.

*children within the age you are still legally liable for.

Re:I don't get it. (1)

teebob21 (947095) | about 7 months ago | (#45519805)

It does read like an advertisement, but it is one that, as a parent, I want to read.

Oh, I agree...I should have put some more positive spin on that assessment. I have nothing against vehicle owners installing GPS in said vehicles being used by others. It's paid the bills for me in the past.

Hell, I even let them Big Brother on my car. Progressive Insurance customer here: I gladly signed up for Snapshot when it was available (and drove like a little old lady) for 45 days. Saved a permanent 14% on my annual premium without permanent monitoring.

Is this news because it's LoJack, a household name dating back to my childhood, rather than Wireless Matrix/GPS Insight/Trimble/the 47 other players in this space?

Re:I don't get it. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45519911)

Soon someone will sell a service to rent cars to kids who have GPS devices, and deliver them to the address they specify. Ditch the GPS! Our cars are reliable and cheap! Just park at your friends house and we'll pick you up!

Re:I don't get it. (1)

penix1 (722987) | about 7 months ago | (#45520179)

If my kids don't want this, they can buy their own cars and pay their own insurance. If they want to drive my cars... well... :)

you do know there is no way to distinguish who is driving your car right? You do realize this data will be sold to the highest bidder right? You do know that your driving habits will also be recorded and sold as well right? You do know that anything and everything on the internet is insecure and inherently dangerous to personal data right? You do know that the next step is to have law enforcement send you citations in the mail when it records you went through that stop sign without coming to a full stop or went 2 miles over the posted speed limit right?

And you are still fine with that?!?!?!

Re:I don't get it. (1)

Em Adespoton (792954) | about 8 months ago | (#45520869)

Actually, you made me think... cross this new product with the tech from a few days ago about the system that can identify you by your typing and mousing... I'd say everyone's driving style is pretty unique. A version of the lo-jack that could identify who was driving the vehicle and then set custom limits with alerts based on that would be pretty useful.

Still a huge potential for abuse, but there are uses too....

Re:I don't get it. (1)

geekoid (135745) | about 8 months ago | (#45521037)

wild speculation and pointless questions to get to a slippery slope fallacy, well done.

Re:I don't get it. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45520281)

I would have hated my parents if they tried to track me like this. Speaking as someone who has only recently gotten out from 'under their wing', them installing this would have confirmed that they didn't trust me which meant I would have no longer trusted them. In return, I would have lied and misbehaved more often because that's what was expected of me. Had I deviated from some set path for a valid concern, the tracking would only show I deviated and not the why. I would get in trouble and they would assume my valid and correct explanation would be a lie since they're expecting me to lie because they were bad kids. Since I'm going to get in trouble anyway no matter what I do, I might as well have the extra fun and deviate for other reasons.

Treat me with respect and high expectations and I'll meet those expectation and be worth of that respect almost all of the time. Treat me like a criminal with no expectations and that's what I'll become. And why not? Criminal acts are more fun in the short term and you already assume I'm doing them.

~A kid's prescriptive. You adults lose perspective too quickly. PLEASE STOP BEING CONTROL FREAKS especially when you complain that the government is doing it. If you're going to do it of course they're going to do it.

How to hack it: Drive to library to study. Park and shutdown car. Unplug, then restart car and drive somewhere else. If the device can detect it was unplugged (or parents are snooping on mileage), have a friend pick me up or walk/hitch hike (which is now considerably more dangerous than me driving there without permission). I'll find a way. I always do (like when I got around your boot-up BIOS password or when I download porn while doing homework on the computer in full view of the kitchen, etc...).

Re:I don't get it. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45520463)

I would have lied and misbehaved more often because that's what was expected of me.

Proving you were an immature jackass who needed to be monitored. When someone doesn't trust you, that's their problem. If they're tracking you, do what you normally do or else it becomes *your* problem too.

I download porn while doing homework on the computer in full view of the kitchen

That's disgusting. The kitchen table is where your parents have sex. Have some respect.

Re:I don't get it. (1)

timeOday (582209) | about 7 months ago | (#45520399)

My beef here is the "cloud" aspect. I would only accept a device that I upload to my own computer at my own convenience.

I really hate how the "push" aspect of connectedness has developed... see also the WWW, Digital Video Recorders, and the new generation of game consoles. I guess I was naiive about the Internet to think this window on the world would be one-way.

Re:I don't get it. (1)

FlyHelicopters (1540845) | about 8 months ago | (#45521091)

You mean, as opposed to the teenagers cell phone which is 24x7 connected to the cloud? :)

The idea that we can be really private is over, unless you really want to ditch the web.

Re:I don't get it. (1)

SlithyMagister (822218) | about 7 months ago | (#45520543)

A major function of adolescence is forging a life apart from the parents' control.

Parents can facilitate this by gradually relinquishing control in response to trustworthy behaviour on the part of the teen.
The progression results in self-disciplining young adults who are independent, yet respect authority

Parents can thwart the burgeoning independence of their adolescent children by attempting to control and monitor their offspring's behaviour, even when the adolescent has shown no tendency toward suspicious behaviour. Treating ANYONE in a suspicious manner tends to foster the behaviour expected.
This progression results in young adults who resent authority, and have sub-standard life skills.

"Just because you can" is never a valid reason for doing something.

Re:I don't get it. (1)

FlyHelicopters (1540845) | about 8 months ago | (#45520947)

A major function of adolescence is forging a life apart from the parents' control.

That is true, to a point... it is also a nice theory, but when it hits the real world (today, vs. another time in history), you have to modify it to fit the times.

If my child is killed in a car accident because they were doing something stupid, then they didn't learn anything, now did they?

Yes, they need some freedom and the ability to make some decisions, but they also are minors until they are 18 and they live under my roof, thus there are rules to be followed.

If my 16 year old wants to move out, get a job, pay their own bills, then they don't have to listen to me one bit. But frankly they should, because I've been there and done that.

Since teenagers tend to think they have it all figured out, they don't like to listen, it isn't nearly as much fun as goofing off and doing whatever they want.

My kids will be able to drive, so they will have some independence. But they must also respect authority, which in this case, is me. I have rules, I expect them to be followed.

Do they always? No, but there are punishments for that (losing the TV, video games, etc.).

VZW already on 2nd gen device (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45522219)

It does read like an advertisement, but it is one that, as a parent, I want to read.

I fully want this in the cars my kids drive in a few years. I recall very well my driving habits when I was 16, and they were terrible.

If my kids don't want this, they can buy their own cars and pay their own insurance. If they want to drive my cars... well... :)

Welcome to Daddy, "a.k.a. Big Brother". :)

GM and Verizon Wireless are already on the second generation of their OBD II dongle that offers the services LoJack is promising.

http://www.theverge.com/2013/1/7/3845570/delphi-verizon-car-connect-remotely-unlocks-cars [theverge.com] Realtime location map, geofencing alerts, alerts when the vehicle exceeds a certain speed and what's probably equally handy - the app on your smartphone can double as an extra key fob in case they lock their keys inside.

Re:I don't get it. (2)

bob_super (3391281) | about 7 months ago | (#45519749)

My boss tracking where I go with company-provided assets makes sense.

Everybody's every move being tracked in the name of lower premiums or children safety is downright scary.

Re:I don't get it. (1)

DdJ (10790) | about 7 months ago | (#45520191)

Everybody's every move being tracked in the name of lower premiums or children safety is downright scary.

What's worse: safe, conservative drivers opting in to this in order to prove that they're safe and get lower rates, or forcing safe drivers to subsidize the insurance of reckless drivers because the insurer has no way to distinguish between the two?

(I think the answer depends on other factors, like privacy controls, consumer protection, and system security.)

Re:I don't get it. (1)

Em Adespoton (792954) | about 8 months ago | (#45520919)

Everybody's every move being tracked in the name of lower premiums or children safety is downright scary.

What's worse: safe, conservative drivers opting in to this in order to prove that they're safe and get lower rates, or forcing safe drivers to subsidize the insurance of reckless drivers because the insurer has no way to distinguish between the two?

(I think the answer depends on other factors, like privacy controls, consumer protection, and system security.)

Of course, the insurer has great ways to distinguish between the two, so this is a false dichotomy. The entire business of the insurer is being able to distinguish between good risk and bad risk -- since insurance is an ongoing thing, insurance claims, vehicle types, age/gender, time since last claim, etc. are great indicators. On the flip side, being able to do driving proviling on a mass scale could be extremely useful for identifying good/bad driving practices and figuring out how well the various parts of different cars actually perform.

Re:I don't get it. (1)

Culture20 (968837) | about 7 months ago | (#45520525)

Everybody's every move being tracked in the name of lower premiums

is impossible because everyone can't get lower premiums. What will happen is some select people who opt in early get lower premiums, then eventually the tracking becomes part of any new policy without a discount. Some people will try to fight it, but with all the tracking stuff already being set up, "reasonable expectation" of privacy will be skewed for future courts.

Re:I don't get it. (1)

bob_super (3391281) | about 7 months ago | (#45520595)

I fully expect some insurers to only insure people who accept to be tracked. Their prices will be lower, because they'll be able to avoid paying more often (more careful drivers and/or arguments that you exceeded the limit by 2mph). Other companies respecting your privacy will likely have to raise premiums to offset this, lose customers, and up adopting it also to stay in business.

5 years from now (if that long), it will be near-impossible to insure a car without being tracked 24/7.
I fully expect politicians to find it normal.

What a nice utopia we're building for our children...

Re:I don't get it. (1)

tibit (1762298) | about 8 months ago | (#45521687)

Given that everywhere I ago almost everyone drives at least a couple miles above the speed limit, and that there are places I've been to where it's routine to drive 10-20mph over the limit, I think the arguments you cite are entirely reasonable.

Re:I don't get it. (1)

tibit (1762298) | about 8 months ago | (#45521697)

By reasonable I mean fuck yes I'd expect to argue as hell if they were hung up about me driving over the speed limit. I don't want to fucking get killed, mmkay?

Re:I don't get it. (1)

tibit (1762298) | about 8 months ago | (#45521665)

where I go with company-provided assets makes sense

It's not anybody's business where I elope with my secretary, thank you very much.

Re:I don't get it. (1)

bob_super (3391281) | about 8 months ago | (#45521741)

If she's "company-provided" for eloping, the local pimp may want to break your boss's legs.
it's hard out here for a pimp, when even companies intrude on their turf... he needs money for the rent.

Re:I don't get it. (1)

mjwx (966435) | about 8 months ago | (#45522057)

My boss tracking where I go with company-provided assets makes sense.

Commercial systems already exist to do this, with far better fleet management than LoJack.

But these are aimed at fleets, LoJack seem to be aiming this at consumers.

Everybody's every move being tracked in the name of lower premiums

Glad I live in one of those evil nations that regulates the insurance industry and makes this downright illegal.

Pretty soon you won't own your car... (1)

Dahamma (304068) | about 7 months ago | (#45519741)

you'll just "license" it from the insurance companies and gas stations...

Re:Pretty soon you won't own your car... (1)

alvinrod (889928) | about 7 months ago | (#45519815)

Funny you say that, but there was a story from a week or so back [slashdot.org] that just about amounts to that.

Don't forget the NSA. (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45519753)

If there is data about you that is getting collected, the spooks are also going to get a copy.

Re:Don't forget the NSA. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45519929)

The NSA one plugs into your rear access port.

Fuck off (2, Informative)

Meditato (1613545) | about 7 months ago | (#45519773)

I co-founded a company that does this, and we have a number of competitors in the same space. Tons of people and companies do this.

Do we get free Slashdot advertising too? No? Stop posting this shit and start posting news.

Re:Fuck off (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45519839)

Waaah. LoJack is a company people have heard of. Your podunk company can go fuck off.

Re:Fuck off (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45520103)

Hadn't heard of these yahoos before. I went and interviewed at a now-defunct company in yurp that built this as well as more fleet oriented tracking and management some, oh, five years ago. So this isn't new, and it's certainly slashvertisement.

Re:F**** off (1)

bobbied (2522392) | about 7 months ago | (#45520303)

You can cry into your Cheerios about this if you have too, but you've got to know that LoJack has name recondition in the anti theft market. I'm sorry if your business is a competitor to them now, but you've got to know the market and who the competition is. They think there is opportunity here, so don't get upset, they've just confirmed that there seems to be money to be made. Man up and get going.

Hopefully you can distinguish your self from the competition and make a go of it, but somehow you will need to come up with something they don't have. Be it some unique features, cheaper purchase, lower operating cost, easier to install, or something that makes your product more desirable. So what if LoJack is getting free advertising on ShalsDot, it doesn't matter. They are going to out flank you on advertising and leverage their already considerable market share anyway, shalsdot is really just a sideshow on a two bit carnival ride. It's not like computer nerds are big automobile buffs or are out buying the systems you sell in large numbers.

So get busy, get noticed and stop crying about competition and unfair advantages. Since we left grade school Life has not been fair. It takes hard work and risk of failure to get to success. Good luck.

Re:F**** off (1)

Meditato (1613545) | about 8 months ago | (#45520929)

"You can cry into your Cheerios"
"so don't get upset"
"Man up and get going."
"stop crying about competition"

Sorry kiddo, I remain unprovoked. But I do want to point out a few misconceptions you seem to be operating under.

First of all, you seem to be under the mistaken impression that I am concerned about our competition. No, by pointing out that we have competitors, I'm saying that there were many such businesses before (and besides) LoJack. LoJack's technology and business model is nothing new, which begs the question of why LoJack (and only LoJack) is suddenly being mentioned. In any other world it would be called spam.

Second, you are peddling the same old tired fallacy about capitalism, that optimal competition yields optimal results. In other words, "better product beats worse product, so make a better product and you'll beat them!". That's horseshit, and you know it. Such systems don't work because competitors can't agree to follow the rules of the framework in which they operate. Perfect example: a company manages to get free advertising on a very popular tech website that ostensibly has certain guidelines against advertising in posts.

Third, we're well within our rights to complain about advertising in Slashdot submissions. We're following the guidelines, and others aren't.

And...ah yes. The "life isn't fair" excuse. The excuse that the intellectually lazy (or personally invested, as case may be) use to rationalize the nonsensical aspects of modern society. Have fun when someone bends or breaks rules/guidelines to get an advantage on you, and don't come here to complain about it.

Re:F**** off (1)

geekoid (135745) | about 8 months ago | (#45521209)

" LoJack has name recondition "
So you question was answered.
"Sorry kiddo, I remain unprovoked."
You're response indicates otherwise.

IT's not our fault you work for a no name copy of a recognized company.

"that optimal competition yields optimal results. In other words, "better product beats worse product, so make a better product and you'll beat them!""
No, that's not what optimal competition yields optimal results means at all.

It's a story to an article about LoJack, not advertising.
People talk about what companies are doing all the time without it being advertising.

Are..are you simple?

Re:F**** off (1)

bobbied (2522392) | about 8 months ago | (#45521289)

Then complain to SlashDot directly if it's worth it. I don't see that it is for you old man.

Unfair thing happen all the time and LoJack entering into your market able to throw resources into marketing and catch enough attention of SlashDot posters to get a article accepted may or may not be one of them. So if you *really* believe that this article was a plant or SlashDot was somehow complicit in advertising your competition over you, get used to the idea of folks not following the rules. I can tell you that in my 25 years of working in various parts of the technology industry I've seen a lot of people who choose to not follow the rules and do horribly unethical and immoral things. Bad people and companies are everywhere, and although I'm committed to the ethical and moral high road myself, I recognize that not everybody out there does the same. If indeed this LoJack post was unethical, then you are just wasting your time on this posting.

So you won't find me on SlashDot crying in my cheerios. I suggest you do the same, unless you really just needed to vent, in which case, you are welcome to sit on the couch and pontificate towards the ceiling in my office though slashdot anytime you like.

What's It Called? (2)

Anne_Nonymous (313852) | about 7 months ago | (#45519843)

>> LoJack To Release Tracking Devices For Consumers, Insurance, and Auto Makers

What's it called, a "cell phone"?

Re:What's It Called? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45519965)

Why don't we have the NSA do this with tax dollars already? It is the logical next step anyways.

I have something better that's free to use! (2)

RocketRabbit (830691) | about 7 months ago | (#45519849)

APRS is an amateur radio technology that uses AX.25 to report the position of objects, the weather, send and receive emails and messages, communicate with satellites, and so forth. Coverage is pretty good inside the USA and Canada, with other nations adding capability and more users every year. Devices range from tiny thumb-sized trackers to handheld transceivers and larger radios which implement messaging and location reporting.

Of course you have to be a ham to use this technology, but once you are, there is no monthly fee nor is there a commercial service to rely upon, as all the infrastructure is provided by other amateurs for free. So get out there, get your license, and join the party!

Re:I have something better that's free to use! (1)

noh8rz10 (2716597) | about 7 months ago | (#45519895)

does HAM stand for something, like an acronym? I've always wondered that.

Re:I have something better that's free to use! (1)

TechyImmigrant (175943) | about 7 months ago | (#45520065)

It's a meat product made from pig.

Re:I have something better that's free to use! (1)

noh8rz10 (2716597) | about 7 months ago | (#45520587)

but what is pig radio? that makes no sense
 

Re:I have something better that's free to use! (1)

Lumpy (12016) | about 8 months ago | (#45520767)

It sends bacon to you via radio waves..... Mmmmm smokey radio bacon.....

Re:I have something better that's free to use! (1)

Deadstick (535032) | about 7 months ago | (#45520357)

First off, it's not HAM but ham, definitely not an acronym. Its provenance has been debated for years...the most common explanation is that it's derived from the word "amateur" spoken in one of various accents.

At any rate, it means the possessor of a license to operate a radio transmitter under the rules of the Amateur Radio Service, as regulated by the FCC and its counterparts in other countries.

Re:I have something better that's free to use! (1)

noh8rz10 (2716597) | about 7 months ago | (#45520599)

I think it's probably an acronym. Home Amateur Multicast radio.

Multiple errors (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45519941)

Please edit the last sentence. "Additional features will include the ability for parents to set up geo fences to restrict where their children can drive before alerts can sent as well as the ability to restrict and texting while the vehicle is being operated."

And the following year (1)

lightknight (213164) | about 7 months ago | (#45519963)

And the following year, manufacturers plan to come out with a device which takes the place of a child's eye, which will allow fretful parents to know about all the sodomizing and whoring that their teenage sons and daughters are up to. In lurid, decadent details.

Re:And the following year (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45520081)

Already on it. [google.com]

the ability to restrict and texting (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45519971)

> the ability to restrict and texting

I think you accidentally a word, nigger.

What happend to OnStar? (3, Interesting)

bobbied (2522392) | about 7 months ago | (#45520035)

Now I'm not sure how this is different from "On Star" but it sure seems to be *exactly* the same kind of thing they've been doing for a decade. Tie some cell phone to a computer and a GPS receiver attached to the communications buss in the car and there is a load of things you can do. Problem with LoJack is that if they are forced to go though the ODB-2 connector, they will have limited access to your car to do what they've done in the past that brought them to almost a household name. You might be able to shut down an engine through the OBD-2 connector, but that's likely going to require manufacturer specific software and possibly custom hardware to make happen.

Where I get why a manufacturer might want to offer a system like this, I really don't see a huge market for it. OnStar never really took off as a money maker even on the GM cars it was offered with. The effort to push OnStar as an after market add in to your car option has been less than stellar. Keeping up with your teens as they drive around is NOT hard using their smart phone, and you need to add the "don't text when moving" app anyway so load a tracking app too.

Now I don't have a kid who is trying to hide things from me in the first place, so she's not out turning off her phone or unloading the tracking app. She's a really cautious driver (actually too cautious at times) so I don't worry that she's out racing my car, but if I did, there are inexpensive ODB-2 recorders out there which are readily available and cheap, plus the sector of taking the keys away, at least while they live under my roof and drive my cars. Your mileage may vary, but I think LoJack is gona loose their shirt on this one.

I'm going to have to build.. (3, Funny)

TechyImmigrant (175943) | about 7 months ago | (#45520037)

I'm going to have to build an OBD ii dongle to site between the dongle and the car, projecting and image of a perfect driver. It'll sell like hotcakes.

Re:I'm going to have to build.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45520221)

Not if your post is an example of quality control.

Re:I'm going to have to build.. (1)

TechyImmigrant (175943) | about 7 months ago | (#45520577)

There isn't a lint for Slashdot.

not trustworthy (1)

fermion (181285) | about 7 months ago | (#45520051)

Here is the thing with lojack. There is no real way to know it is working. I have it installed, and really it seems like a waste of moneyu as there is not feedback on functionality. I could waste another $100 dollars every year. Now, in one of my cars I can pay $300 a year for telematics, and this at least has some benifits. I can know it is working because at any time I can look up the car at anytime, and even unlock doors and such. It sounds like this is what Lojack is trying to do, but really, they are a bit late to the markett. Pretty much what they have done in the past is sell expensive insurance, and count on the fact that it mostly won't be used. I don't know if I would have any legal recourse if the system failed as I have not paid their yearly maintenance fee.

In any case for consumers there a bunch of cheaper alternatives. For not very much you can get a smart phone app and a dongle for the ODB that will keep detailed track of driving patterns. If a parent were concerned about this stuff it is a simple matter of an iphone, something like Bluedriver, and turning on find my iPhone. This leverages stuff that is already paid for. Of course i think most parents know the value of giving kids increasing responsibility and freedom, and most I know aren't this intrusive.

Re:not trustworthy (1)

tibit (1762298) | about 8 months ago | (#45521731)

I've had a brush with LoJack-originated technology, and everything about it appeared super-shady. These days I use Orbicule Undercover. No subscription and you can verify the functionality anytime. Yes, it's not tied into the BIOS, but for your typical thief it'll be an effective countermeasure.

Yeah right (1)

NetNinja (469346) | about 7 months ago | (#45520063)

Bullshit! Bullshit! More Bullshit.

Stake holders are greedy SOB's just like the rest of us. The moment an insurance company offers them millions if not billions to purchase that treasure trove of data there goes your insurance premiums.

Just like Progressive who has that dongle you plug into your vehicle. If any dope out there has installed that in their car should lose your license.

Re:Yeah right (1)

game kid (805301) | about 7 months ago | (#45520149)

But it will save me hundreds on the car insurance rates that they'll (lo)jack up when this gets introduced!

Track who? (1)

jamesl (106902) | about 7 months ago | (#45520073)

LoJack to release tracking devices for consumers, insurance and auto makers.

Who, besides the NSA, would want to track consumers, insurance and automakers? OK, the feds need to keep an eye on GM, but really.

Re:Track who? (1)

dadelbunts (1727498) | about 7 months ago | (#45520345)

Uh automakers already do that. Most modern cars come with a black box that records telemetry. Its really nothing too new.

Re:Track who? (1)

Lumpy (12016) | about 8 months ago | (#45520735)

No they dont. The ECM may record the last few seconds but there is no special "black box" that spies on you.

Granted my education on cars is limited to ECM and BCM hacking as well as CANBUS reverse engineering..... so I might be wrong, but I highly doubt it as I have NEVER found a blackbox in any car that I have worked on. granted it's only been about 22 different cars and models ranging from 2007 to 2013 and the data saved in the ECM is very limited. Just throttle position, brake pedal activation, and engine data at the time of airbag deployment. your GPS coordinates of the last 30 places you have been are no where to be found inside.

Of course they won't (1)

digitalPhant0m (1424687) | about 7 months ago | (#45520077)

The company said it has no plans to sell any information collected through a cloud service connected to the devices

Well then, count me in.

uh huh (1)

Charliemopps (1157495) | about 7 months ago | (#45520267)

The company said it has no plans to sell any information collected through a cloud service connected to the devices

Translation: "We have no plans but reserve the right to change our minds shortly after you instal our device."

obvious use... (1)

markana (152984) | about 7 months ago | (#45520337)

Expect every rental car to come with this factory-installed. Not only can the company track it's cars, but they can combine the customer's driving pattern with their profile and sell it. Frequent travellers/renters would be an obvious target, but everyone could be included if it's done cheaply enough. And in real-time, too.

Still around? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45520483)

I haven't heard about LoJack since the 1990s. I didn't know that LoJack is still around. Yeha, i'm showing my age. lol

" including a OBD II" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45520501)

Typical American. Why do you have such problems with 'a' and 'an'?
It's "AN OBD II", for Christ's sake.

Why do Americans have such a problem with prepositions as well? To, from, in, out, etc.etc. Just choose a random one and use that. 'than', 'then' and 'that' are all interchangeable too, apparently. You American idiots.

Sorry pizza delivery guy.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45520589)

I watched you stop for beer then take 12 trips around my subdivision. It's going to be free or I'm calling your boss.

Already have that.... (1)

Lumpy (12016) | about 8 months ago | (#45520695)

It's called AT&T family tracking. I know right where all the phones are. and it costs a LOT less than the lojack junk.

No plans to sell any information? Huh? (2)

GumphMaster (772693) | about 8 months ago | (#45520709)

The company said it has no plans to sell any information collected through a cloud service connected to the devices, but to only share it with stakeholders

They are not going to do this for the insurance companies out of the goodness of their hearts. So the stated business model is do precisely what they claim not to do, selling information gathered this way to "stakeholders."

Governments, police forces and the NSA are stakeholders too (whether or not LoJack want them to be). How long before the location data is married to traffic light changes resulting in infringements issued on the basis that your car passed a red light: no camera deployments required and no defence. Or speed information and speeding infringements... Or proximity to an unrelated crime... Or the location of political opponents... Or journalists... Or whistleblowers... Ubiquitous tracking will be abused.

Sounds like medical records: (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45520755)

It sounds just like medical records... everyone except you can view them and determine your future income for the next 50 yrs based on the data they can see but you can't.

My ODB port is already in use, so ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45520759)

does the lojack come with an ODB port splitter?

And that NetNanny better not work right either... (1)

russotto (537200) | about 8 months ago | (#45521771)

Any kid of mine would be expected to disconnect, disable, spoof, cloak, or otherwise render useless any such device. I'd be disappointed in a child who did not at least make a good try at doing so, and even more disappointed if they actually followed the restrictions.

On-star (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45521983)

Didn't on-star promise this a few years ago, and promptly change the EULA and track people who were no longer subscribers?

Load More Comments
Slashdot Account

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Don't worry, we never post anything without your permission.

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>
Create a Slashdot Account

Loading...