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Carmakers Keep Data On Drivers' Locations From Navigation Systems

Soulskill posted about 7 months ago | from the driving-us-crazy dept.

Privacy 189

cold fjord writes "The Detroit News reports, 'A government report finds that major automakers are keeping information about where drivers have been — collected from onboard navigation systems — for varying lengths of time. Owners of those cars can't demand that the information be destroyed. And, says the U.S. senator requesting the investigation, that raises questions about driver privacy. The Government Accountability Office in a report released Monday found major automakers have differing policies about how much data they collect and how long they keep it. Automakers collect location data in order to provide drivers with real-time traffic information, to help find the nearest gas station or restaurant, and to provide emergency roadside assistance and stolen vehicle tracking. But, the report found, "If companies retained data, they did not allow consumers to request that their data be deleted, which is a recommended practice."'"

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189 comments

All across America (5, Funny)

istartedi (132515) | about 7 months ago | (#45891727)

All across America, well polished and maintained '57 Chevy convertibles just got that much cooler.

Re:All across America (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45891853)

In today's weather, though, not one would start.

Re:All across America (1)

Penguinisto (415985) | about 7 months ago | (#45892201)

*ahem* [wikipedia.org]

(...they've been around since the 1940's.)

Re:All across America (1)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | about 7 months ago | (#45892821)

And in most cases, you don't even need them.

Block heaters are great, often especially if you want to put them on a timer, to make starting easier. But they are rarely needed except where the thermometer routinely goes below 0 degrees F.

Keep the right amount of antifreeze in your coolant, occasionally use a little bit of Heet in your gas (unless it already has ethanol in it), and you're good to go in most parts of the U.S.

Re: All across America (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45892449)

I drove my '71 Chevelle to work today. It was -11F when I walked out and started it up with no problem.

Re:All across America (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45891869)

Why can't the car owners demand the companies destroy the data? No, I didn't read the story. We have to stop giving up our freedoms people!

Re:All across America (4, Insightful)

djmurdoch (306849) | about 7 months ago | (#45891935)

The summary (and the report it quotes) is inaccurate. Car owners *can* demand that the companies destroy the data.

The only problem is, the companies will just ignore the demand.

Re:All across America (2)

Nerdfest (867930) | about 7 months ago | (#45892495)

Yet I would guess they'll hand it over to law enforcement agencies without a warrant, same as most companies these days.

Re:All across America (2, Insightful)

epyT-R (613989) | about 7 months ago | (#45891939)

They can demand all they want, but that won't change a thing. There's only one way to fight this: Buyers chosing to remove the cell network interfaces from the car...and the RFID tags on the tires.. and the NARC blackboxes...

Re:All across America (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45892179)

They can demand all they want, but that won't change a thing. There's only one way to fight this: Buyers chosing to remove the cell network interfaces from the car...and the RFID tags on the tires.. and the NARC blackboxes...

No, there is another way. The manufacturers claim that their location privacy policies are spelled out in the sales agreements: if enough people would back out of the car buying process after being presented with these manufacturer policies, then the dealers would apply the pressure needed to make the manufacturers change. Dealers don't like anything that repeatedly costs them sales.

The manufacturers don't give a flying fsck how many people rip out the expensive trackers after buying cars, but dealer happiness is a short second behind profit margins on their corporate priority list.

Re:All across America (1)

anagama (611277) | about 7 months ago | (#45892205)

A better question, why isn't the data automatically destroyed? I can understand storing it for a certain amount of time for the scenario where one's car is stolen while the owner is on vacation ... two weeks would probably cover 99% of users and people who expect to be gone for months on end should have an opt-in method for longer storage. But most of the data should be discarded automatically and frequently.

Re:All across America (5, Insightful)

gstoddart (321705) | about 7 months ago | (#45892271)

A better question, why isn't the data automatically destroyed?

Because it's valuable to them. Because they'd love to have your car recommend a nearby restaurant. Because they can.

Welcome to a world ruled by Terms of Service and End User Licenses, and where corporate greed isn't regulated by privacy laws.

Re:All across America (1)

geekoid (135745) | about 7 months ago | (#45892329)

Trending. Maintain long term data of you're driving trends, traffic along the trends, etc allows for better predictive applications.

When you look at large dataset over time people have never really looked at before, patterns emerge. Narrowing those patterns down to eliminate noise and you can use it to make better driving decisions for the individual, and society. Patterns bout your life you aren't even aware of will emerge.

Frankly, so what if someone know where you drove to last year.
Data collect and cameras are here. The fight is how it's used and by whom. Frankly, I would like the automotive companies to keep it forever but have to get my permission to give it to the government and that the government must serve ME with a warrant to get the data.

Re:All across America (5, Insightful)

gstoddart (321705) | about 7 months ago | (#45892389)

Frankly, so what if someone know where you drove to last year.

Until your wife demands it for divorce proceedings which prove you were at your mistress when you should have been at work.

Or until someone decides that the fact that you were in Little Italy means you might be associated with organized crime.

Or any number of ways in which you don't expect your location to be constantly broadcast to a 3rd party, and be something which comes back to bite you in the ass.

Frankly, I would like the automotive companies to keep it forever but have to get my permission to give it to the government and that the government must serve ME with a warrant to get the data.

You are aware of the Patriot Act, right? The one which says they can walk into a company, demand your data, and it would be illegal for them to tell you about it?

Sorry, but as long as they can use national security laws to get this data, putting it into the hands of companies is no solution.

Sadly, people have known OnStar would have this capability for years.

Re:All across America (1)

icebike (68054) | about 7 months ago | (#45892443)

More to the point, why is the GAO studying this and hiding the details from their report.

Not one specific policy of any specific company is listed.

Re:All across America (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45892281)

BREAKING NEWS

Cars spend most of their idle time hanging out in alleys, driveways, garages, and parking lots when not being driven, though some like to sit on the side of a major road.

Researchers also found that cars spend most of their drive time on avenues, boulevards, circles, drives, expressways, freeways, lanes, highways, parkways, roads, routes, streets, turnpikes, viaducts and ways.

These findings appear to confirm the researcher's suspicion that most cars still haven't learned how to fly, even though it's 2014 and society expected flying cars four years ago.

Re:All across America (0)

bob_super (3391281) | about 7 months ago | (#45892633)

Breaking news: Cars are driving along parkways and parking in driveways.
Because English would be too simple to learn, if it wasn't sometimes really weird.

Re:All across America (1)

bob_super (3391281) | about 7 months ago | (#45892653)

Suddenly, the basic econobox where every comfort item is an option looks like the smarter choice.

Re:All across America (1)

Daniel_Staal (609844) | about 7 months ago | (#45892703)

This type of thing being possible is one reason I've never trusted a car with OnStar. (To name the most visible.)

Re:All across America (1)

bob_super (3391281) | about 7 months ago | (#45892823)

I predicted when they announced it a few years ago that someone will hack onstar (or be a disgruntled employee) and disable a few hundred thousand cars just because they can.
I am amazed that it hasn't happened yet.

I personally would just like the source code of the hack and a short-reach transmitter, to shut down the people talking on the phone or cruising in the left lane.

Re:All across America (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45892855)

You don't drive with a cell phone either, right?

Re:All across America (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45892921)

A gas guzzling behemoth that is difficult to find spare parts for and essentially a death trap in a major collision? No, not any cooler than they were yesterday.

Come on guyyyyyyyyys! (1)

TheNastyInThePasty (2382648) | about 7 months ago | (#45891729)

The government recommends that you guys do something that will cost you money and empower the consumers! Why haven't you done it yet!?!?!

Re:Come on guyyyyyyyyys! (3, Insightful)

TWiTfan (2887093) | about 7 months ago | (#45891883)

Because the REAL government is quietly asking them to hold onto the data.

Re:Come on guyyyyyyyyys! (1)

icebike (68054) | about 7 months ago | (#45892317)

And the GAO is dutifully NOT SAYING SQUAT about which car companies do this sort of thing.

They speak of 10 companies they interviewed, and never once indicate which companies are a) collecting this data, and b) retaining it.
Way to go, GAO, so nice to know you are on our side.

If you get your traffic data via any one-way broadcast method, you are probably safe. But if your car offers "luxury" nav systems with on-line weather, and search capabilities, it has to have some transmitter capabilities (built in cellular radio, or OnStar) to transmit location data back. So you can guess which cars have this just by carefully reading the manual. Paying for a cell plan for your car is a dead give-away.

Bad enough the cellular carriers are tracking your phones, I see no reason car companies need to track your car.

Re:Come on guyyyyyyyyys! (1)

Charliemopps (1157495) | about 7 months ago | (#45893023)

um... it's all of them. lol

But of course (4, Insightful)

Black Parrot (19622) | about 7 months ago | (#45891731)

Our economy is increasingly based on collecting, trading, and exploiting customer information, rather than actually making and selling a product.

When's the bubble going to burst?

Re:But of course (1)

camperdave (969942) | about 7 months ago | (#45892219)

Our economy is increasingly based on collecting, trading, and exploiting customer information, rather than actually making and selling a product.

When's the bubble going to burst?

Customer information *IS* a product.

Re:But of course (2)

icebike (68054) | about 7 months ago | (#45892413)

Customer information *IS* a product.

But sooner or later, companies are going to stop buying that information, because damn few of them have the skilz to
actually utilize the data in any real way.

What good does it do for Shell Oil, Bridgestone tires, or Jiffy Lube to know where I go, and what I drive? Unless they
start personally sending me printed mail, I never see their advertising unless I drive by it.

Google has the greatest scam going. While they insist they don't sell my info to other companies, but rather
simply use it to send me ads on by browser, they also provide almost perfect spam filtering in my Gmail.
So they sell ads to every company, filter those ads out of my email for me, and do nothing to prevent
web ad filtering via adblock etc.

So tell me, what good does it REALLY do to try to market ME as a product? Sooner or later companies are going
to learn there is precious little they can do with the information.

Re:But of course (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45892745)

They don't necessarily need it. They make money selling it to companies that can use it or they pay to have companies create profiles of their customers so they know how to market them, increasing sales and reducing marketing costs. More times than not, they just sell the data. I've been in various technical and developer positions in this industry for nearly a decade. It sucks, but it pays the bills. Guess its better than doing porn or selling drugs.

A recommended practice? (1)

grahamsaa (1287732) | about 7 months ago | (#45891755)

Why isn't this required by law?

Re:A recommended practice? (4, Insightful)

SirGarlon (845873) | about 7 months ago | (#45891851)

Because the last thing the Federal government cares about is the privacy of its citizens.

Re:A recommended practice? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45891917)

Because there are lots of pusillanimous lickspittles like cold fjord who kowtow to the powerful out of abject fear.

Re:A recommended practice? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45892215)

Because there are lots of pusillanimous lickspittles like cold fjord who kowtow to the powerful out of abject fear.

He is not afraid of them, he and various others are paid by them to post on Slashdot.

Re:A recommended practice? (4, Interesting)

gstoddart (321705) | about 7 months ago | (#45892249)

Because the last thing the Federal government cares about is the privacy of its citizens.

Of course they don't. Because they can demand this information from them and use it themselves.

"Well, we couldn't get a warrant to install a GPS tracker, but since your Escalade had a GPS/OnStar, we'll just ask GM for all of your travel history. Gee, it says here you were in an area which is known to have drug dealers and prostitutes".

Much like the Patriot Act rendered cloud-computing to be a security problem for anybody not in the US but using a US based service, the internet of things will essentially cause all of your information to become the property of a company, and readily accessible to the US government.

I can't possibly put enough layers of tin-foil on to make me feel any better about this stuff. Because we're hurtling towards the dystopian future some of us have been fearing for years.

Only we seem to be voluntarily providing the companies with this stuff in return for shiny baubles.

Re:A recommended practice? (1)

exomondo (1725132) | about 7 months ago | (#45892997)

Only we seem to be voluntarily providing the companies with this stuff in return for shiny baubles.

It's not that you seem to be doing that, it's that you are doing that, so the simple solution is to stop doing that. Sure it is less convenient but that's the tradeoff.

Re:A recommended practice? (0)

geekoid (135745) | about 7 months ago | (#45892347)

Yes, when the government enacts a regulation it's all about controlling! When the government allows companies to make business decision its becasue the government is all controlling.

You idiots don't even know what the government is.

Re:A recommended practice? (2)

Etherwalk (681268) | about 7 months ago | (#45891919)

Why isn't this required by law?

Recommended practices are easier to pass than law. Industry is okay with them because they can ignore them; Congress, agencies, or industry groups can pass them and pretend to be doing something. Occasionally they're even a little bit helpful.

Congress also does less with each passing year because, as it turns out, doing things in politics means people can paint you as against something, so the safest course of action for most politicians is to do nothing.

As a result, agencies and functionaries are left without the ability to legislate change, which means that "recommended practice" may be their best option to influence policy.

Re:A recommended practice? (0)

epyT-R (613989) | about 7 months ago | (#45891981)

Because congress hasn't gotten there yet. Don't you worry, though, they will eventually. Of course, by then, no one but the wealthy will have the money to own cars anyway..

Re:A recommended practice? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45891997)

Two reasons:
1) It's rather annoying trying to hold a foreign based company accountable for something like this. So such a law would end up consisting of a fine for not proving that you aren't keeping data, which is a really clumsy thing to try to enforce, and might just end up as a tariff on companies that don't give the federal government full access to their databases.

2) [REDACTED], [REDACTED], [REDACTED] and [REDACTED] discussed [REDACTED] and agreed that [REDACTED] so it would be better to merely recommend this practice rather than enforce it.

Tracking Needs to be Illegal (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45891763)

Full stop. Monetization of people, saving their data without their express, signed consent (after they have been acutely made aware -- no EULA click through counts) should be illegal with stiff penalties that include actual prison time. My data is mine. If you want it and want to make money from it, let me know and pay me. I think 50% of all profits you make from my data is beyond fair. Anything less is criminal.

Re:Tracking Needs to be Illegal (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45893065)

You can post that all you want but unless you are willing to take action to make it happen what is the point? Does it make you feel better to tell everybody what they already know but dont care enough (or are too lazy) to do anything about?

You arent really going to find many people that disagree with this except for those that profit from it and they dont care about some anonymous guy bitching and moaning on the internet, in fact for them thats great, its just another person who feels like they arent part of the system but doesnt do anything to change it. So if what you were looking for was a pat on the back and an agreement with what you said then here you go:
*pat*pat* good boy.

A legal question (1)

Registered Coward v2 (447531) | about 7 months ago | (#45891765)

What if the driver becomes involved in a lawsuit or is accused of a crime? Could the automakers be forced to provide the data? Or, if the automaker had reason to suspect the information may be subpoenaed would they have to retain the data or risk legal sanctions? A formal destruction policy may help in the latter case at least.

Re:A legal question (1)

Russ1642 (1087959) | about 7 months ago | (#45891815)

If they're accused of a crime they can pretty much use anything to prove their guilt. This would be no different.

Re:A legal question (1)

bob_super (3391281) | about 7 months ago | (#45892543)

But you don't have the clout to ask for it to prove your innocence.
It'd be a shame if someone couldn't bill the govt to hold your sorry ass inside a cell.

Re:A legal question (2)

mlts (1038732) | about 7 months ago | (#45891971)

If they have data, they can be forced to cough it up, either by a search warrant for criminal cases or via motions of discovery/subpoenas for civil.

So far, this hasn't seemed to have happened, but if it does become public, there will be a backlash, especially OnStar which has the ability to track and disable cars in realtime [1].

[1]: I hope GM knows what they are doing with security, because some group wanting to get themselves on the map could use that ability during a disaster (hurricane, man-made catastrophe, etc.) to disable cars en masse, creating an almost impenetrable barrier for evacuations out of a city. I remember just the compromise of an Austin company that had vehicle disabling devices on their cars by an ex-employee, with the employee disabling all cars, caused a pretty big stir... think of that on a regional level.)

Yes, it has already happened (4, Informative)

DigitAl56K (805623) | about 7 months ago | (#45892161)

So far, this hasn't seemed to have happened, but if it does become public, there will be a backlash, especially OnStar which has the ability to track and disable cars in realtime [1].

Ahem. Just a few links that spring to mind. You can easily find others.

TomTom sorry for selling driver data to police [ft.com]

“Government Motors” To Track Drivers With OnStar, Sell Data to Police [thenewamerican.com]

OnStar Tracks Your Car Even When You Cancel Service [wired.com]

Busted! Your car's black box is spying, may be used against you in court [computerworld.com]

Re:A legal question (1)

geekoid (135745) | about 7 months ago | (#45892395)

Or they can just be asked for it.

Engineer know how to deal with security of vehicles. When was the last time hackers took a commercial air craft and forced it to land at a different airport?
" impenetrable barrier for evacuations out of a city.
HAHAHAHAHA.. if a city need to be evacuated, the traffic leaving will be an impenetrable barrier. In fact, since cars will be running and people will still have the illusion of control they will sit in there car. If there car doesn't work, i.e. the illusion of control is removed, they will get out and run for it.

Re:A legal question (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45892563)

This reminds me of Houston a few years back. A hurricane hit, and the evac warning was sounded 2-3 days before landfalls... and due to the roads, people who left when the evacuation sounded were either running for shelter on foot or dealing with their car, first due to traffic, then after 4-8 hours of that, people running out of gas. Not impenetrable, but trying to hoof it 50+ miles to safety isn't for everyone.

But, I trust GM 100%, and their vehicle security is far beyond what any criminal organization can ever penetrate. IMHO, their cars are impenetrable fortresses, and as far as I know, there has never been a case of remote compromise, ever. So, the grandparent is wrong... car compromise via OnStar is a "never gonna happen" issue, and we do not have to worry about that.

Obvious. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45891793)

We should have learned by now, that if a mechanism for spying or location tracking exists, than it IS being recorded and stored indefinitely.

I'm constantly surprised by people who are surprised.

I'm now a die-hard Subaru fan, just because as far as I know, they are the only ones who sell new cars without awful LCD screens and features like dashboard GPS.

Re:Obvious. (3, Insightful)

mlts (1038732) | about 7 months ago | (#45892015)

Fords don't have a bad mechanism either. They use one's cellphone for sending vehicle health reports and other items. So, instead of checking the forums for the antenna (or antennas) to disconnect, just disable Bluetooth on your phone, or just don't pair your phone up with the Ford console.

Re:Obvious. (3, Interesting)

sjames (1099) | about 7 months ago | (#45892545)

I would rather not pay for the hardware that presents a hazard I need to avoid. Reach a negotiated price with the dealer and let them know that not removing the built-in spy is a deal breaker.

As a Gubernatorial Candidate From Texas Once Said (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45891839)

(About rape) It is going to happen so you might as well relax and enjoy it.

(He lost to Ann Richards.)

Re:As a Gubernatorial Candidate From Texas Once Sa (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45891963)

A relative of mine was all set to vote for Claytie "born with a silver foot in his mouth" Williams until he made that remark.

Thanks to her and many other women - and men - who were also offended, he lost a race that he would've won if he'd been a bit more tactful and voter-savvy.

He also made some remark along the lines of "Gettin' serviced [by a prostitute] in Mexico is just part of growin' up in West Texas."

That didn't help either.

Re:As a Gubernatorial Candidate From Texas Once Sa (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45892299)

Yeah, of course, because women never bilk men out of their money at a bar, or in divorce court via the state, right? Where's the mainstream outrage over that? Prostitution is probably the most honest transaction the genders have today. He wants her body for an hour, and she wants his money.

Re:As a Gubernatorial Candidate From Texas Once Sa (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45892137)

..just what feminists say about men being raped by women 'family' courts. You know, the whole "he'll learn something from the experience" bit from cathrine comins?

hate the new slashdot (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45891843)

not me, first thing I did was pull that fucking OnStar shit out. replacing the mirror wasn't cheap but worth it. freaking dealership wouldnt do it, had to take it to the body shop down the street. then I snipped the wires in the mic they put in the ceiling (assholes, like I need my car to be a flipping telephone...stupid use of technology).

Re:hate the new slashdot (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45891889)

You could have saved yourself a lot of time and money by simply just pulling the dedicated fuse for the OnStar box or alternatively disconnecting the OnStar box from power.

but then... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45892447)

I would have still had a gay ass mirror with onStar buttons on it. Well worth it, every penny.

Re:hate the new slashdot (3, Informative)

mlts (1038732) | about 7 months ago | (#45891925)

One can always just pull the OnStar antenna and call it done. This is a lot easier than doing a rip-job, and easily reversible when it comes time to sell the car.

they already thought of that (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45892061)

remember, the people that designed it are not dumb either, and with some of the devices being hardwired into the various data buses connected to engine etc Some devices are not easily removed without a custom bypass wiring job

every time your car is serviced by the dealer, they hook it up to their computer and it uploads lots of data

do some research, read some car enthusiast forums and find out how folks warranties were denied because they had logs of them doing 150mph or whatnot

Re:they already thought of that (1)

mlts (1038732) | about 7 months ago | (#45892169)

Very true. I was meaning the realtime tracking data, not the crap stored in the ECM/TCM, where car makers do a scan to check for tunes or modifications and if anything is found, put the vehicle on the "warranty is DEAD" list that goes to all dealers.

Newer cars, it is the same thing like jailbreaking iPhones if one wants a custom tune. Miss one gotcha or signature check, and the ECM will just refuse to run, and when the vehicle is taken to the dealer for a reflash, from there on out, all repairs are owner expense.

Re:they already thought of that (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45892183)

In GM cars, OnStar is the only system that is capable of determining your location (assuming no OEM navigation system), so if you pop the fuse or remove the antenna, that should prevent it from collecting any data.

I don't know if you're the same AC who talked about removing the mirror, but there is absolutely no reason to remove the mirror as a means to disable OnStar - that doesn't even disable the box from getting a GPS lock and storing/transmitting that data.

Cars that have onboard navi systems (i.e. car radios with built in turn-by-turn GPS) might be an issue. Those units have OEM integration with other parts of the car (With VW cars for instance, the car radio / GPS communicates over CANBUS to the information display in the instrument cluster to provide textual information about the next turn, so it's quite possible that the GPS locations could be stored in another module, such as the ECM or some other module that one can't simply remove).

I don't have a problem with the speed/RPM logs and such as they only record those basic data, not location. Other people disagree with me on this because often their insurance or police will demand these logs during a claim, but as a proponent of responsible driving, I don't see it as a big deal or an overly invasive intrusion into my privacy,

it was me (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45892419)

the mirror replacement was cosmetic. sorry if I confused anyone. those stupid buttons on the mirror drove me nuts. oddly enough, my new mirror works just fine without them.

Grammar (3, Funny)

Stele (9443) | about 7 months ago | (#45891847)

Am I the only one who read that as the car makers are somehow not letting the nav system know the driver's location?

Re:Grammar (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45891961)

Am I the only one who read that as the car makers are somehow not letting the nav system know the driver's location?

Yes.

You aren't the only one Re:Grammar (1)

davidwr (791652) | about 7 months ago | (#45891993)

Am I the only one who read that as the car makers are somehow not letting the nav system know the driver's location?

No.

Re:Grammar (1)

modi123 (750470) | about 7 months ago | (#45892079)

No, you are not alone with readability concerns.

Re:Grammar (1)

CheezburgerBrown . (3417019) | about 7 months ago | (#45892341)

Maybe we have the same type of retardation?

Bumper Sticker (1)

hondo77 (324058) | about 7 months ago | (#45891893)

Companies should not keep private information about individuals.

The government hates competition.

Re:Bumper Sticker (3, Informative)

jd2112 (1535857) | about 7 months ago | (#45892165)

Companies should not keep private information about individuals.

The government hates competition.

No, the Government prefers corporations to do their work for them.

Re:Bumper Sticker (1)

bob_super (3391281) | about 7 months ago | (#45892581)

Corporations prefer the government to make it mandatory and safe for them to collect.

Yeah, right. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45891907)

"Automakers collect location data in order to provide drivers with real-time traffic information, to help find the nearest gas station or restaurant, and to provide emergency roadside assistance and stolen vehicle tracking."

I've used GPS extensively all over the world. Why would you need to retain the position for ANY of these reasons, except the last one? Maybe the last reported position for the an emergency (like just before the GPS-demolishing wreck).

Should have been obvious much earlier (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45891911)

OnStar? Lojack? In-car GPS navigation? Cellular WiFi hotspot? Tesla revealing they know everything about what you do with the car during that spat with the New York Times?

Now it is getting easier. (4, Interesting)

140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) | about 7 months ago | (#45891927)

I am a simple cheapskate and could not bear to part with 2000$ for a car-nav system that will be woefully out of date in 2 years and the car maker would be demanding 900$ for a map update, and the user interface might have been usable at some point in the design before the bean counters and marketers muscled in looking for brand differentiation and cool and oomph factor. So I have a cheap Garmin with a suction cup holder next to shifter.

Most people look at it and ask my why or at least raise an eye brow. Now I can simply say, "NSA". And they will nod understandingly and my mojo as the rebel who defies the draconian government will go up one notch.

Re:Now it is getting easier. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45891987)

Yeah, because Garmin isn't doing the same thing....

Re:Now it is getting easier. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45892101)

You're an idiot. Cheap GPS devices are ONLY receivers. A GPS without cellular capabilities cannot send location data to a third party. This kind of thing doesn't happen by magic - it happens through obvious and well-known mechanisms.

When you update the maps for your basic GPS, again, you're only transferring files to the device - the device itself does not have or need network connectivity.

Re:Now it is getting easier. (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | about 7 months ago | (#45892619)

Let me just address your points out of order, because it makes the most sense to do so.

the device itself does not have or need network connectivity.

That is orthogonal to this issue. Also, that is false, as I will show momentarily.

When you update the maps for your basic GPS, again, you're only transferring files to the device

The prior point is false because this point is false. The updater software can also take files off of the device. And as the device is typically a Windows Mobile device, it will have other channels for debugging as well, including but not limited to USB PAN.

You're an idiot.

Here's looking at you, kid.

Re:Now it is getting easier. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45892773)

What about devices which update FROM an SD card or USB stick? It's still secure. It's insecure IF and ONLY IF the updater runs via a link talking to software that does unknown things. Not all of them work this way.

Re:Now it is getting easier. (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | about 7 months ago | (#45893051)

What about devices which update FROM an SD card or USB stick? It's still secure.

Those devices might be the bulk of the market in China, but they're the minority here in the USA, where the dominant GPS units all have updater applications. You can get those devices here, but odds are against you ever getting good map data, let alone an update with any such.

Re:Now it is getting easier. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45892111)

Garmin does has my VIN

Re:Now it is getting easier. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45892131)

Anyone who won't respect you for being a simple and practical cheapskate shouldn't be bumming a ride in your car. "Thrift" used to be considered a virtue --- rather than a cardinal sin against the Almighty Dollar.

Re:Now it is getting easier. (0)

geekoid (135745) | about 7 months ago | (#45892407)

Actually you reputation as a paranoid and ignorant git goes up 2 notches.

Ownership (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45891937)

The courts in the US wil have to eventually determine that citizens "own" data like this making this kind of thing, license plate scanning and what Microsoft, Facebook, Twitter, and Apple have been doing a kind of theft.

Not your data (1)

Hatta (162192) | about 7 months ago | (#45892021)

Under long standing case law, information about you is not your data. e.g., the list of phone numbers you called are the business records of the phone company. So the police don't need a warrant to get it, they just have to ask the phone company which has no interest in your privacy.

It's almost certainly going to be the same in this case. The records the car company keeps are their records, including the tracking data. If the cops want to know where you've been, all they have to do is ask the car company nicely.

Jealousy (1)

jader3rd (2222716) | about 7 months ago | (#45892029)

The government is just jealous that it's having trouble getting the data. They're big babies, if they can't have it they don't want anyone to have it.

They're not the only ones (5, Interesting)

rlwhite (219604) | about 7 months ago | (#45892065)

I was in a meeting today with a state DOT official who showed how his department buys monthly GPS tracking data on all traffic in the state, combined from companies including TomTom, Garmin, AT&T, etc. by a private company and processed by the University of Maryland. He was able to use it to prioritize road improvements and later show the benefits of those improvements. The data he had (average speeds for small stretches of road at hourly intervals) was quite granular and powerful for what he was doing but innocuous from a privacy perspective. The question should be, who else are these companies selling the data to and in what form?

Re:They're not the only ones (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45892315)

The question should be, who else are these companies selling the data to and in what form?

We sell it to whomever we wish, and most folks want it as an Excel spreadsheet. Any other questions?

Dilution or smokescreen (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45892149)

{conspiracy theory}
This looks like another effort by the US güberment and their lackey media to try to drown people with data collection and privacy. Either to deflect attention from the NSA or bombard people with enough of such type of stories so that a few years down the road the American population could care less what the NSA does as it'll just be yet another data collection story

Folks again, if you really want change, go out and spread the anti-FUD or this conspiracy theory! You know your votes are next to useless!
{conspiracy theory}

Surprise ... (2)

gstoddart (321705) | about 7 months ago | (#45892153)

This is why stuff like OnStar, or the fully connected internet of things is going to be a privacy nightmare.

You can't turn off OnStar and trust they still aren't listening.

When you can't trust that your own property isn't spying on you (which can of course then be subpoena'd by law enforcement), you're pretty much screwed.

It's bad enough everything you do on the internet someone is trying to track -- having your car always telling the company where you are is beyond creepy.

Re:Surprise ... (1)

geekoid (135745) | about 7 months ago | (#45892415)

why?

Re:Surprise ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45892839)

why?

The single word that identifies the asker as a moron. No indication of what "why?" refers to. No indication of what part of the GP's post the asker is sceptical about. Typically, the one word sentence "why?" is asked by teenagers that wants to hide they didn't listen to what was said to them.

Track away my friends! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45892159)

I bet it really messes with them then I leave a car in the river, for... reasons >.>

Re:Track away my friends! (1)

camperdave (969942) | about 7 months ago | (#45892401)

Hello. This is OnStar. We notice by our tracking system that your mileage has improved We are concerned because the sensors indicate that you are carrying about 180lbs less weight since your recent stop by the river. Did you leave someone behind?

So Tony was right (0)

meridien (718383) | about 7 months ago | (#45892237)

When Tony Soprano had the Onstar and nav system ripped out of his new Escalade, who knew he was smarter than the NSA?

Now where's your excuse? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45892369)

Last year a guy was busted by his wife for cheating on him because CalTrans had data saying he was in Marin at a time when he said he was in Berkeley. Now everyone is going to know where you're going. You'd better cheat on your wife only with someone who lives around the corner from your grocery store...

Oh, there's a big surprise! (1)

unjedai (966274) | about 7 months ago | (#45892397)

Obligatory Aladdin reference [youtube.com] .

tracking 20th century style (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45892671)

Back in 1980s some do-gooders who want to punish those that frequent pron stores would note the license numbers of their cars, go to DMV to get address. Then send a letter with idea it is the wife that will open and read the letter about where their husband was at.

I like how... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45892899)

I like how Senators are gung-ho to go after private companies when they violate privacy, but are suspiciously quiet when the government does it.

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