back to article We already give up our privacy to use phones, why not with cars too?

Discussions about the future of cars quickly turn to the pros and cons of autonomous vehicles. But the acronym of choice in such discussions is CAVs – connected and autonomous vehicles – and the "connected" part is already with us. While there are only a handful of fully autonomous vehicles trundling about public roads, most …

Anonymous Coward

'privacy concerns appear to be fading, based on surveys'

Lisa Joy Rosner - *** Chief marketing officer *** of US-Israeli startup Otonomo. The otonomo platform powers the first connected car data marketplace for the simple & safe sharing & distribution of vehicle data.

'(S)he would say that, wouldn't (S)he?'

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Anonymous Coward

'Lisa Joy Rosner - *** Chief marketing officer ***'

"I would argue that the people, the demographic who are really nervous about privacy are going to stop driving pretty soon, and the people getting behind the wheel are more digital natives,"

Notice how she doesn't, even for a moment, consider that there might be a middle group (perhaps concerned families with children etc). Marketing F*ck! The tech industry is the enemy!

There's a saying: Its not the product that's God, its the industry, and like God, you'll take what you're given and be gratefully! I'm even more determined than ever to fight surveillance capitalism.

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Silver badge

Re: 'Lisa Joy Rosner - *** Chief marketing officer ***'

(S)he's not completely wrong, unfortunately - it seems to me that newer generations seem to have less and less of a problem with pervasive surveillance, having experienced it more and more as the natural state of things. Some sort a STASI-2 will need to happen with all the assorted atrocities before resistance to this sort of thing will ever be mainstream again...

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Bronze badge

Re: 'Lisa Joy Rosner - *** Chief marketing officer ***'

Time to buy an old Sears Motorcycle.

https://auto.howstuffworks.com/sears-sell-motorcycles.htm

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Re: 'privacy concerns appear to be fading, based on surveys'

US-Israeli startup Otonomo

Or as I have decided to call them, "Oh no, no mo'".

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Genii meet bottle

It's going to be a case of when all this connected information gets into the wrong hands, in which case it won't go back into the bottle. My phone can only guess about how I'm travelling about. In congested traffic I could be on a bike (with pedals), bus or car - and I'm sure that would be information that would happily be used for marketing purposes.

There's so much they could work out from the travel data already available - where you work, shop and where you visit - already and tracking it down to one vehicle is possibly one step too far.

Maybe the on board accelerometer could identify the exact location of the pothole that bent my wheel, but it's unlikely. They'd have to make the incentives to have these in place pretty good for savvy users, and no I'm not in the market for a brand new car with any connectivity.

As for most of the populace, they'll just accept this data slurp as they're not made aware of any reasonable alternative.

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Silver badge

Stuff your "subscription model"

I can understand the motor industry's concern. If the asset has a longer life span, people might buy fewer of them. So why not encourage people to effectively use rental cars on micro-rental arrangements? Great for the banks who would finance the asset, great for the car makers because the asset owners will keep the cars fresh by renewing frequently to justify premium pricing. And all packaged up as "an advantage for the consumer".

Now, my experience of rental cars over many years is much of a muchness - smelly cars abused by previous users and doused in perfume to disguise the smell, hidden charges, disputes over damage and attempts to rip-off customers for the alleged cost of fixing the damage. Very limited choice of spec or model.

Maybe the car markers need to think again. Boris bikes might work for bearded hipsters, for the rest of humanity this subscription model stinks.

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Anonymous Coward

"where drivers pay a monthly charge to lease the vehicle."

It looks cheaper, if you don't look at some disadvantages - i.e. you lose your work, or have a financial setback, yo can't pay for the car any longer, and then you discover to look for and start a new job you need a car. Not everybody lives and work in a big city with a large public transportation network.

I've learnt that owning a car (and buying without a loan, which only makes it cost more) , even if an old one, as long as it doesn't cost more in maintenance than running it, is safer. Just like owning a home ensures you aren't thrown out if dire times comes.

Besides things you can't own, i.e. power or water supply, I find subscription OK only for things I can live without, so I can interrupt them anytime I wish or need. For other critical things, I prefer to own them.

Of course. the renting model is useful if you can deduct the cost from taxes, it may be immediate unlike depreciation which the higher expenses deductions will be split over several years.

People will learn the disadvantages the hard way....

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Not Cars, but related...

(might take some willpower to get past the academic style, though)

http://firstmonday.org/ojs/index.php/fm/article/view/7954

Irresistible bargains: Navigating the surveillance society

Robert M. Pallitto

Agents in contemporary societies are faced continually with choices regarding engagement with technological artifacts. They can choose to engage or decline engagement after considering the costs and benefits in each case. However, certain aspects of the surveillance society may be irresistible in a number of ways, so that refusal to engage with them is not a realistic option. The proliferation of the Internet of Things (IoT), particularly as embedded in “smart city” initiatives, helps to make surveillance technologies potentially irresistible. After laying the conceptual groundwork for discussing irresistible bargains, this essay offers a two-part normative critique, focusing on the asymmetrical power relations engendered by smart cities as well as harms inflicted on the self.

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Anonymous Coward

So drive a..

Dumb Car?

You can pick up cars from the 90s or even 2000s which won't be sending data back to their manufacturer easily enough.

Just pick your self up an old Fiat car which does not include the tech and will run for years.

I'm still using a Volvo from 1998 as my daily driver, still runs sweet as a nut with over 210k miles on the clock!

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Anonymous Coward

Re: So drive a..

I wonder if it is possible to create a market for smart connected cars then create a market for apps for these connected cars -- even if these aren't your cars you will want to personalize your ride! There is money to be made.

Then let's open said app market for third party developers. Dozens of dodgy offers like "beat the traffic with cheat codes from our app" or "increase max speed" appear in the market. Don't forget to charge developers a cut for each app sold.

Lots of clueless users (let's not call them drivers) start installing those apps, and wonder why their ride is taking them to seedy parts of the town, and keep taking pictures from the cars' internal camera (of COURSE there will be some!) or keeping asking for the credit card details.

What a time to live in!

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Re: So drive a..

"Just pick your self up an old Fiat car which does not include the tech and will run for years."

A Fiat that will run for years?? Are you from an alternate reality? Most fiats fall apart after 10 years either from poor build quality or rust. Or both.

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Angel

Re: So drive a..

bicycle?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: So drive a..

Indeed, lots of 15-20 year old cars out there, in close to immaculate condition, going cheap. Youngsters no longer want an old car as their first or second car, they want something new and bling ridden, and leased on finance.

I'm of an age where retirement is only a decade away, so have just bought a mid-90's, immaculate condition (one previous elderly owner, garaged from new, low mileage) car which is now in storage. When I no longer have to do the business miles every day I can kiss goodbye to the modern bling ridden mobile computers. My current daily car - 10 years old - doesn't track, log, or interact with me, but I suspect it's replacement may do.

The only concern is that governments obsessed with tracking everyone may try and force such cars off the road with stupid "road tax" costs under the guise of pollution/emissions, and that as electric cars (with their highly polluting short life batteries) become more common, that petrol may become scarce - in much the same way as 4-star is nowadays.

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Ogi
Meh

Re: So drive a..

> The only concern is that governments obsessed with tracking everyone may try and force such cars off the road with stupid "road tax" costs under the guise of pollution/emissions,

They have already started. Under the guise of "emissions reduction", places in Europe have started to restrict cars less than a certain EURO Emission standard.

From the 1st of January this I am no longer able to drive my 80s car into the city (as it predates the EURO standard), and every couple or so years they will up the minimum standard allowed, until all my cars are forbidden. My newest car is from 2003 and it is already stretching the limits of a home mechanic to maintain (too much computer gimmickry), so I won't be buying anything newer.

At the point where I can't use my cars to go to work, it is either "always on connected shitbox", never entering the city (tough as almost all jobs are there), or relocating to another country where they respect privacy (yeah, how many of those exist yet are affordable to non ultra-rich. Monaco is big on privacy for example, but I sure can't afford to live there).

Plus once they do it to the cities, it is not a small step to start restricting all cars (via registration perhaps?). Their ideal wish is to make old cars like horses are now, a kind of toy for the very rich, which have to be trailered on the main roads to and from dedicated tracks, not for practical use day to day or on public roads.

> and that as electric cars (with their highly polluting short life batteries) become more common, that petrol may become scarce - in much the same way as 4-star is nowadays.

Indeed, I suspect so as well. My idea there is to work on converting as many of my cars to run on Alcohol. E85 for the moment (as I can get that at the pump easily for now), but with the ability to run pure alcohol.

Bonus there is that it is a closed carbon renewable resource (so can't claim environmental issues) and humans have expertise making alcohol for thousands of years :-)

If worst comes to the worst, I can brew my own fuel in the backyard, but I suspect there will always be sources of alcohol around.

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Silver badge

Re: So drive a..

Yep, every time.

I have a 23 year old fiat at 180k miles.

I just wrote off a 10 year old fiat (got forced off the road) with 240k miles.

Replaced it with another 10 year old fiat with a 105k on it, put another 7k on it in the last few weeks without issue - including a trip across Europe over xmas the week after I bought it.

But yeah, fiats drop to bits soon as you look at them.

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Silver badge

Re: So drive a..

problem is, AC, that no-one makes a new car that I want. <rant> Capable of long distance towing, able to be slept in comfortably by a tall person, fast enough to keep ahead of the road trains while towing long trailers or a caravan, 700 km range minimum without van or trailer, fuel consumption better than 8.5 l/100km means no modern car is acceptable to me. Choice of a truck or pseudo truck aka CosssOver vehicle is not a choice, Even most of the annoying 4WDs sold to the urban bound Scottish Restaurant customers are too small. Adding in the nightmare of firewalls so the stereo/radio does not allow the car to be remotely hijacked means that zero timed older vehicles from 2000s are only choice while parts can be purchased. The threat of detailed driver and vehicle monitoring is just one more instance of the "built" environment becoming more user hostile. </rant>

May be decent station wagons are made some where, but not affordably in the Antipodes. The dinky Asian ones might suit gnomes, but not traditional male Aussies. So for basic vehicle security, economy and usefulness only the last of the Oz station wagons will do.

FLAME bait: Elons dumping of his electric car set a nearly good example. It wont go into the Sun.

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Re: So drive a..

> ... Fiat car which does not include the tech and will run for years

Are you sure Fiat is what you meant there?

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Re: So drive a..

"I am no longer able to drive my 80s car into the city"

Time to do a full 180 and push back HARD. See what you can register as a "classic car" and if it would get around "normal" regulations, get one of those.

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best "to buy a really old car that isn't super-connected"

Car companies are actively trying to retro-fit this stuff into older models too. I took my 2010 Volkswagen in for a dealer service a few weeks ago, and when I went to collect it I was told "We've also given you a free* upgrade called 'VW Connect'"

Basically a VW-branded OBD bluetooth dongle that would pair with a free* VW smartphone app. One of the features apparently was that it would sent engine diagnostic info to my nearest VW dealer in the event of a fault and other "wait....what?" items. I took the dongle back off and it's sitting in the glove box for when I eventually go to sell the car.

* You know the saying at this point I'm sure

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Re: best "to buy a really old car that isn't super-connected"

If that had happened to me, I'd have insisted they remove the unauthorized "upgrade," and I'd be sure to notify the manager that this was not an acceptable practice.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: best "to buy a really old car that isn't super-connected"

And if they reply that it's being demanded by your insurance company...by ALL insurance companies...AND your lifestyle makes mass transit impractical?

Saying no is one thing, but what if it means walking on the sun?

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Re: best "to buy a really old car that isn't super-connected"

>Basically a VW-branded OBD bluetooth dongle<

If it was OBD, just unplug it. It's next to your knee.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: best "to buy a really old car that isn't super-connected"

I would make sure that the CEO of VW, both in the UK and Germany were made aware this is not an acceptable practice......

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Silver badge

Re: best "to buy a really old car that isn't super-connected"

"And if they reply that it's being demanded by your insurance company.."

You tell them that's between you and your insurance company.

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MJI
Silver badge

Re: best "to buy a really old car that isn't super-connected"

My current car is a change over model from basic minimum electronics to full on lots of them.

Lots of ECUs all doing different jobs, only accessable through an OBD styled non OBD compliant port.

It would be drivable with only 3 operating (security, engine, electronic automatic) but the ABS and suspension ones can fail but car still driveable.

I looked at the replacement models but put off by failing cranks, even more electronics with no manual way past (eg hand brake), and weight.

The latest keyless entry and starting does worry me a lot.

But almost all parts are still available. So I reckon this will last until I retire.

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Go

If the payback is safer, cheaper, less-congested driving...

what's not to like? It's going to happen; bring it on.

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"Some see big opportunities in making connected cars work like smartphones, in particular targeted advertising."

Has the use of ad-blockers taught them nothing?

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Installing an ad-blocker to your car systems may:

a) prove difficult if/when they finally sort out how to protect firmware updates from unauthorised sources

b) void your vehicle warranty, because they want to find ways to stop you doing it and that's a major dis-incentive

c) result in some kind of legal action under EU legislation to prevent it

Please don't think that means I'm on their side, I'm most definitely not. I'm just playing devil's advocate.

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"void your vehicle warranty,"

Personally, this is meaningless point to me. I've found warranties to border on worthless and no longer concern myself about them at all.

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Silver badge
FAIL

Your initial premise is flawed

We already give up our privacy to use phones

No we don't. You might, but then you're part of the problem in that you don't care exactly what you're giving up and how that affects your life before the bill drops on the doormat.

Yet another slowly boiling frog, oblivious to the gentle rise in temperature.

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Blow it up

If my car dared wave any advert in my face I would set fire to the petrol tank.

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Anonymous Coward

OK, I'll possbly tolerate being harvested

however, I don't see at all why I should be harvested again by the car company. I already hate TV's for attempting to share data will all and sundry.

Some cars try to compete with or remove the expensive mobile computer you have in your pocket and take over with their own solutions - double bad as far as I am concerned. buy apps twice, probably buy music twice.

Its a stitch up and no mistake, and it is not in our consumer interest as far as I can see.

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Connected car

At no time and in no way should a vehicle ever be connected to the internet. Now, the radio may have some connection to the internet, but it needs to be completely isolated from the rest of the vehicle. In other words, no physical connection to the rest of the vehicle except for the 12V power. If I can unlock my doors with a smartphone, than so can a hacker.

Vehicle to Vehicle communication is okay, provided it is short range and the information sent to each vehicle must obey a standard with all non-standard communications discarded. The information sent must be well-defined and it cannot send commands to other vehicles, just information.

And if I eventually have to buy a car that is connected to the internet, then I would like to see it try working the antenna pulled out. Or with the fuse pulled out.

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Silver badge

Re: Connected car

"At no time and in no way should a vehicle ever be connected to the internet."

I agree, although the cars are mostly not talking through the internet.

I'll take that even further, though -- no vehicle (or any other device, for that matter) should be talking to anybody, via any communications channel, without my overt permission. Period.

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Silver badge

How Long Until the Police...

...demand live access to all of the telemetry.

I'm sure they would even be willing to pay for it at commercial rates, considering how much they would make from the speeding fines.

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'ere mate - looks like your car needs a new battery

"More generally, the data can be used for predictive maintenance, so when a battery is near to failing the dealer can invite the owner in to get it fixed. "It strengthens the relationship between the brand and the driver, the consumer," she says. Otonomo aims to provide a marketplace for such data."

How near to failing? I can see car battery sales increasing (a la RAC - see below). Who sets the limit "Ooh look your battery (or any other part of your car) is possibly going to fail in the next 50,000 miles, I 'invite' you to get it replaced now."

OK it's the Daily Fail but -

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3988290/RAC-sells-motorists-batteries-don-t-need-buy-Patrolmen-allegedly-charging-122-replacements-stranded-drivers.html

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Because what you really want are extra driver distractions

I'm not getting any car with this "advertising" garbage on it, I'll just drive older and older cars if I have to.

I get exceptionally angry when stupid advertisements start popping up on things suddenly & it makes me not want to use them.

Suddenly my cell phone wants to put ads in my voice mail or pay a fee to remove them??? I already pay a ton for the service, take a hike.

Waze used to just have little add icons, now it tries to pop up full screen overlay adds all the time if just on the phone.. because that's what I want to look at while driving.

I don't want my car to bother me with "things that might interest me", that's a good way to go straight to the junk yard.

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Devil

AI Back-Seat Drivers and Driving Examiners

What I foresee is not self-driving cars, but cars with built-in back-seat drivers and driving examiners. Such a vehicle would have all the sensors and artificial intelligence of a self-driving car, but without the actuators for making the vehicle autonomous. The AI would continuously compare its opinion of what you should be doing with what you are actually doing. Whenever there is a significant discrepancy, the following would happen:

1. It would speak a message to you criticizing your driving.

2. Your insurance premium would be automatically increased.

3. The authorities would be notified. Points would be charged against your driver's license and fines would be deducted from your bank account in real time.

This would be about a popular as red-light cams and automated speed traps; but if you opt out, the vehicle's ignition will be remotely disabled. (My insurance company is already charging 15% extra to opt out of surveillance.)

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Silver badge

Re: AI Back-Seat Drivers and Driving Examiners

We already have mothers-in-law for that though?

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Silver badge

Re: AI Back-Seat Drivers and Driving Examiners

But mothers-in-law don't operate 24/7 without sleep. This does, and more and more insurance companies are demanding it or spiking your premiums because you're a risky driver. IOW, you bend over or get labeled a threat. And because this affects bottom lines, this will soon get passed along to all other auto insurance companies as they won't want to get undercut (and don't count on a maverick because they'll soon find that the increased pool of drivers will likely increase their liabilities).

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Silver badge

Well...

I already go to great lengths to retain privacy when using my phone. I can't do anything about my carrier, but I can certainly stop all the other spies.

I'll do the same thing with my car. If the day comes that I can't buy a car that is spy-free (unlikely -- there will probably be suitable used cars on the market for longer than I have life left), then I'll modify the car I get as needed,

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Big Brother

To whom?

Personalised, location-targeted advertising could be more contentious, but also valuable.

Valuable to whom? To me, the "driver"/occupant/transportee? Not likely. To the Corporatists? Well probably...at least, they will tell themselves so.

Yet another step in the productization of the populace.

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Silver badge

Double take

"I would argue that the people, the demographic who are really nervous about privacy are going to stop driving pretty soon, and the people getting behind the wheel are more digital natives," [Lisa Joy Rosner] says.

When I first read that paragraph, I read, "digital naives". Upon re-reading it, I'm convinced I was right the first time.

We need a Millennials icon....

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Re: Double take

Define "pretty soon." I've probably got another 40 years of driving left in me...

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Re: Double take

I also like how she posed things as if people who are concerned about privacy and "digital natives" are mutually exclusive groups. They are certainly not.

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Bronze badge

Opportunities

So I can slurp the data and then sell it to bike manufacturers - Your commute would be better on a bike! Special voucher for the store x miles turn left at the next junction... or, based on your commute time, Internet of Shit heart medical device, and your fitbit data you could really do with walking this one...get out, the car will drive home, I'll turn the heating down until you get there...

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JLV
Silver badge

>But present-day cars do not need a network connection to operate, although autonomous vehicles are generally being designed to rely on one.

Are you 100% sure? British Columbia, for one, is so empty that, once you leave the cities and the main highway corridors, cell coverage can be spotty.

https://www.telus.com/en/bc/mobility/network/coverage-map.jsp

Whatever little reamjob our advertising overlords are planning to cook up for us, I have a hard time believing that cars will need a network to function all the time. There are whole swathes of North America, to say nothing of developing countries, that are under-served by coverage, so making those inaccessible to your vehicles seems like solid foot shooting.

Reference?

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Anonymous Coward

Once upon a time...

A long time ago, when men were men and mobile data was HSPA, some equipment (USB Mobile Internet stick, laptop, etc.) was assembled in the back seat to stream BBC WS from the mobile Internet onto an FM modulator so one could listen to it during a planned inconveniently scheduled drive.

It was noted that the HSPA mobile network at that time was guaranteed to maintain the connection only up to 160mph (100mph). Science experiment beckoned. Apparently they had a margin well beyond that spec, as lock was maintained.

Anyway, mobile privacy can be restored if you can drive fast enough to break the data connection. They're probably reliable to maybe 300kmh now, so good luck.

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Silver badge
WTF?

GDPR Requires Data Subjects. . . Especially What Data Is Passed On To Third Parties

Given the spying technologies of GCHQ and the NSA I am happy to forego any perceived 'benefits' such as knowing when a Starbucks pseudo coloured water outlet is nearby (VietNam is the world's No. 2 coffee exporter) and whether there is a fraction of a Cent / Dong / Penny 'deal' coming up.

Other data that will be shared can include physical or biological characteristics, vehicle speeds, seat belt use, and information about braking habits, precise geographic location. Just why do manufacturers need this data?

The police can usually access this data, particularly seat belt use data, using roadside equipment. And you can bet other government agencies can dream up other uses that are detrimental to vehicle owners

Having recently taken delivery of a new company vehicle, I disabled the back-channel radio antenna, moved the unit that contains seat-belt data and moved the Controller Area Network (CAN) connector (usually near the driver seat) to an inaccessible point (for police).

Into the Controller Area Network (CAN) I plugged an aftermarket device that presents all the data through an App. So if **I** decide **I** want to share MY data, **I** have full control of it.

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