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DETROIT — Daniel Dunn was about to sign a lease for a Honda Fit last year when a detail buried in the lengthy agreement caught his eye.
Honda wanted to track the location of his vehicle, the contract stated, according to Dunn — a stipulation that struck the 69-year-old Temecula, Calif., retiree as a bit odd. But Dunn was eager to drive away in his new car and, despite initial hesitation, he signed the document, a decision with which he has since made peace.
Dunn may consider his everyday driving habits mundane, but auto and privacy experts suspect that big automakers like Honda see them as anything but. By monitoring his everyday movements, an automaker can vacuum up a massive amount of personal information about someone like Dunn, everything from how fast he drives and how hard he brakes to how much fuel his car uses and the entertainment he prefers. The company can determine where he shops, the weather on his street, how often he wears his seat belt, what he was doing moments before a wreck — even where he likes to eat and how much he weighs.
Though drivers may not realize it, tens of millions of American cars are being monitored like Dunn’s, experts say, and the number increases with nearly every new vehicle that is leased or sold.
The result is that carmakers have turned on a powerful spigot of precious personal data, often without owners’ knowledge, transforming the automobile from a machine that helps us travel to a sophisticated computer on wheels that offers even more access to our personal habits and behaviors than smartphones do.
After being asked on multiple occasions what the company does with collected data, Natalie Kumaratne, a Honda spokeswoman, said that the company “cannot provide specifics at this time.” Kumaratne instead sent a copy of an owner’s manual for a Honda Clarity that notes that the vehicle is equipped with multiple monitoring systems that transmit data at a rate determined by Honda.
“Most people don’t realize how deeply ingrained their habits are and how where we park our car on a regular basis can tell someone many things about us,” Pam Dixon, executive director of the World Privacy Forum, said, noting that research shows that even aggregate data can be reinterpreted to track an individual’s habits. “There’s a load of anti-fraud companies and law enforcement agencies that would love to purchase this data, which can reveal our most intimate habits.”
“Ultimately, there’s no car privacy statute that car companies have to abide by,” he said. “Not only are automakers collecting a lot of data, they don’t have a particular regime that is regulating how they do it.”
And yet, Calo said, by collecting massive amounts of data, car companies could be setting themselves up for the 21st century’s ultimate Faustian bargain. The more data a company collects, the more incentive the company has to monetize that data.
“Any company that has tons of data about consumers and can control the interaction with them is going to have the capability and incentive to try to use that information to the company’s advantage — and possibly to the detriment of consumers,” Calo said.
originally posted by: Hewhowaits
I don't feel bad about my old vehicles anymore...
I've often wondered if cash for clunkers wasn't a scam just to bring this kind of crap into our lives. People like me that drive older vehicles and work on their cars/trucks generally don't spend as much money and generally like their privacy. Cash 4 clunkers got rid of all that. Parts are unavailable, as are cars at the boneyards, especially as how they had to wreck the motor to accept the vehicles that were traded in.
I know it supposed to be a economic booster, but it always makes me wonder how much more was really at play.
originally posted by: JinMI
originally posted by: Mike Stivic
a reply to: worldstarcountry
Cash for clunkers..
How do I give you all my stars?