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 …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    'By asking for full price you ask to purchase privacy'

    Personal-Info slurp is a pact with the devil! Its why I no longer buy IoT, smartphones, laptops, smart-TV's, connected-cars etc. There's simply nothing attractive in the buying proposition. Its all skewed towards lack of transparency / erosion of trust. Maybe flying cars / robot butlers. But this?

    Get stuffed retailers / IoT peddlers! This is a wet dream for marketers and data-pervs everywhere. With nothing for the poor consumer, except pain, as all this data gets used against us / hacked in ways we never imagined!

    1. Primus Secundus Tertius Silver badge

      Re: 'By asking for full price you ask to purchase privacy'

      @AC

      I've upvoted you.

      Good things, good things, blah blah blah?

      Nonsense! It will quickly degenerate into the worst kind of snooping and advertising.

    2. Ogi

      Privacy, only for your betters

      > "In essence, by asking for full price, you ask to purchase privacy,""

      And due to "cheap finance " pushing up the prices, I am sure that only the well off can purchase privacy.

      So, eventually a world where the rich are free from prying eyes in what they get up to, and a bunch of serfs, spied upon, monitored and "managed" to be most productive.

      Thanks, but no thanks. I have no interest to be part of your always on, connected dystopian hell hole.

      "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,"

      For the record, I only started driving 5 years ago, and have no intention of stopping until I am physically unfit to do so, so with any luck that gives me a few more decades. My girlfriend is of the same opinion, as are a lot more of us "digital natives". I don't know where the spokesperson lives, but just because their little bubble is full of people happy to be violated, doesn't mean the rest of the world is of the same opinion.

      Being for/against being spied upon isn't related to age. I would argue it is mostly related to ignorance. People don't realise quite how much they are spied upon. Only when they are burned by it, or they are shown exactly how much info is collected about them, do they turn against the idea.

      We are seeing it already, things like Facebook are faltering, people are questioning privacy implications more and more, or just not wanting to be part of the system.

      Also, what happens when cars are sold on second hand? Even if you get the initial purchaser to agree to some draconian spying EULA, what about the next person who buys the car? Do they have to sign the EULA? Is it automatically transferred with the car? Then how do you know whose data belongs to who? What if accounts get mixed up and you get each others data?

      I know people who bought modern cars second hand (2013 Hybrid), and ended up getting the previous owners twitter account, previous GPS addresses, entire music collection and FB access from the central computer console thing.

    3. Byron "Jito463"

      Re: 'By asking for full price you ask to purchase privacy'

      There's a reason I disable location services on my phone, and block location on all my apps (because I don't trust that disabling location services actually disables it completely).

      I'm also glad that I drive a '93 pickup, as the computer in it is very, very basic. No data tracking there.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    'Strengthens relationship between brand and driver'

    Coming soon to a US city near you! Don't even try to bring this to Europe!

    1. big_D Silver badge

      Re: 'Strengthens relationship between brand and driver'

      Hmm, looks like it is time to start buying up second hand cars and stockpiling them...

  3. Cursorkeys

    Finance figures are a bit scary

    The "Already, four-fifths of new cars in the UK are bought with personal contract plans" sounded like a load of carp so I dug out the latest SMMT figures, it's even slightly higher than that. Add in other dealer finance and only about 10% of new cars in the UK are bought outright (or with personal loans).

    I've always wondered how people could afford a new car that wasn't a Suzuki Alto, rampant finance seems to be the answer.

    1. Joe Werner

      Re: Finance figures are a bit scary

      I once asked a mate whether the new car was owned by the bank (teasing him), and he replied that no, it was owned by his company, however his company was owned by the bank...

      But yes, I have been wondering about this as well. There are also lots of company cars on German roads. Most (all?) bigger, black, high-end and speeding cars with licence plates from certain regions are company cars. This makes the car market skewed a lot towards financed cars especially at the high end.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Finance figures are a bit scary

        There are also lots of company cars on German roads. .....This makes the car market skewed a lot towards financed cars especially at the high end.

        Noooooo! Germany's (usually) been the model of financial prudence, but now you've caught the car finance plague.

        1. Kevin Johnston

          Re: Finance figures are a bit scary

          But who is surprised by this? It is exactly the same model which allows those high-end mobiles to command prices now up to a thousand squids/bucks. Very few people would pay that up front but using 'easy terms' they are happy to pay all that plus more to get it for less that a couple of hundred a month with free calls thrown in 'for nuffink'.

          It was at least 10 years ago now that I looked at the lease option for a car and when I went through the numbers, in essence I paid for the car over 4 years and then just handed it back...such a bargain.

          1. This post has been deleted by its author

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Finance figures are a bit scary

      I've always wondered how people could afford a new car that wasn't a Suzuki Alto, rampant finance seems to be the answer.

      Worth investigating the cost of these deals. At a headline level they are engineered to look attractive (usually because the example is based on ludicrously low mileage), but rarely is the car owned without additional payments, and it becomes a permanent car rental programme that works out as a very expensive way of driving a car. Friend of mine has a lease contract on a large 4x4 which over four years will cost around 50% more than the outright cash purchase, and that's before any "payment to own", or lease return charges for damage or excess mileage. But £x hundred quid a month sounded really affordable.....

      1. Primus Secundus Tertius Silver badge

        Re: Finance figures are a bit scary

        I was in a group of people in Germany as we walked past a hotel. In the forecourt was a gleaming Porsche, for rent from the hotel at 300 euros per day. The men stopped and gawped. The women marched resolutely on.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Finance figures are a bit scary

          The men stopped and gawped. The women marched resolutely on.

          There are some studies that claim having an expensive car makes men significantly more attractive, though...

          I'm not sure for which kind of women, and whether you want them to be attracted to you.

          1. DropBear Silver badge
            Devil

            Re: Finance figures are a bit scary

            "I'm not sure for which kind of women"

            The existence of specimens being attracted to males who aren't either rich / beautiful / rich / charming / rich / alpha-dominant / rich (or at least a credible alimony scam target) has long been theorised but frankly I expect to see supersymmetry confirmed long before that one.

          2. Chemical Bob

            Re: Finance figures are a bit scary

            "I'm not sure for which kind of women, and whether you want them to be attracted to you."

            Well, at my age....

    3. boltar

      Re: Finance figures are a bit scary

      "I've always wondered how people could afford a new car that wasn't a Suzuki Alto, rampant finance seems to be the answer."

      Depends on your income. For some people 50K on a BMW or Merc would be small change. Others save up for years, but yes, most people use finance.

      Personally like probably the majority of car buyers, I just buy second hand. Let some other mug suffer the major depreciation hit. For the price of some gutless underspecced shitbox shopping car fresh out of the showroom you can buy some pretty decent 3-4 year old motors that are still pretty mint.

      1. Charles 9 Silver badge

        Re: Finance figures are a bit scary

        "For the price of some gutless underspecced shitbox shopping car fresh out of the showroom you can buy some pretty decent 3-4 year old motors that are still pretty mint."

        Trouble is, you can't be sure of that. Knowing they're about to trade their cars in, many drivers stop taking care of them and run them into the ground before trading them in, figuring the showroom won't know the real real condition of the car until after the sale's closed. Don't forget that one major reason for trading in a car, other than to trade up, is to replace a heap.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          "you can buy some pretty decent 3-4 year old"

          Incidentally, three-four years is usually what a leasing or long rent term lasts. A lot of those cars are company cars resold at the end of the lease. And despite the tech protections, tampering with mileage is still a common practice...

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Finance figures are a bit scary

        Personally like probably the majority of car buyers, I just buy second hand.

        And there's something of a glut of these ex-lease cars, so that can work well.

        Alternatively if there's the money use a broker - the majority of new cars you can get around 20% off list price brand new, as first registered keeper, particularly if you're willing to be flexible on timing or some element of spec. Pay the deposit/commission by credit card and there's no material risk.

      3. Guevera

        Re: Finance figures are a bit scary

        Don't know about the UK, but in the US the used car market is about three times the size of the new car market. The dad part is lots of people are financing used cars too

      4. Stork Bronze badge

        Re: Finance figures are a bit scary

        #metoo (oops, wrong context). While in Switzerland, we bought a 2.5 yo Accord with all extras, 26000km and 40% off new price. Still running well 10 years later.

        - and not networking

    4. Cuddles Silver badge

      Re: Finance figures are a bit scary

      "I've always wondered how people could afford a new car that wasn't a Suzuki Alto, rampant finance seems to be the answer."

      Well, not really. For the most part, the answer is company cars. Relatively few people actually buy a brand new car on personal finance, but a lot will get it through their work. Importantly, this includes self-employed people and small businesses - pretty much any contractor, builder, pet washing service* or anything like that will have their car on the company books as a business expense. Most other people who want a relatively new car will just wait to pick up all the ex-company cars that are being replaced on a 1 or 3 year cycle, so the stats for actual brand new cars are massively skewed by it being cheaper to rent and write it off as a business expense than to actually buy a car outright.

      * Seriously, there are three of them on my street. Who the hell needs to pay someone to spray their dog with a hose?

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Finance figures are a bit scary

      "Add in other dealer finance and only about 10% of new cars in the UK are bought outright (or with personal loans)."

      ... possibly due to the way the motor industry seems intent on preventing you from buying outright. Just over 3 years ago I was replacing my 6 year-old car. Seemed to be no talk of any discount from list price for an outright purchase (which is what I really wanted to do) but with PCP I got an extra £2500 trade in plus 3 years free servicing + finance was on a 0% offer - so that's what I went for leaving the money I wouod have used to buy outright in the bank. After 3 years I got all the "your PCP contract is coming to an end - come in and discuss your options for a new car" which I ignored, paid the final payment and in another 3 or so years time I may be looking to replace a 6 year-old car again.

      1. Mark 85 Silver badge

        Re: Finance figures are a bit scary

        Just over 3 years ago I was replacing my 6 year-old car. ...

        Then go at differently. Have the cash at hand. Go in, let them play their finance BS and sign the loan and get the discounts. Then, within 30 day, pay the thing off. You get the discount, save a pile of money and the finance company gets screwed due to all the paperwork costs, lost profit, etc.

        1. Alan Newbury

          Re: Finance figures are a bit scary

          Last time I tried that I read through the fine print first. Minimum loan term was 12 months and, if I paid it off earlier, I was slugged with an early termination fee 10% higher than the 12 months interest :(

    6. Egghead & Boffin

      Re: Finance figures are a bit scary

      I always buy second-hand cars 12 -18 months old and I pay cash. I start saving for the next one as soon as I have purchased whatever I'm driving now.

    7. Warm Braw Silver badge

      Re: Finance figures are a bit scary

      The first dealer I approached when I bought my recent car was entirely befuddled by the concept of paying cash: apparently, less than one purchase a month there is by a means other than credit.

      Not only are they incentivised to sign people up to leasing/finance with a nice little kickback but the recent changes to interchange fees for card processing seem to have had the effect of pushing up the cost of accepting card payments.

      If the car companies and the banks are already fleecing you, it seems entirely predictable that the tech companies want a piece of the action.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        "dealer [...] was entirely befuddled by the concept of paying cash"

        I guess they get higher commissions if they tie you into some profitable (for them) financial deal.

        When buying my last one, the dealer tried in every possible way to persuade me into some kind of financing, just nothing was really below 7%, and I really had no investment delivering more than that (probably I should enter that market too), while paying cash was no issue. At least I got a discount, my father buying a different brand didn't even got it.

        It's quite clear with such interests rate it's a big advantage for them to make you pay the car more - it's another of the many ways money are transferred from the base of the pyramid to the top without much effort, just luring people into buying something they can't afford.

        Just like when they give you for free credit cards... with big interest rates on debts made. They act like drug dealers.

        I prefer to save and then buy only what I can afford, unless really forced to do otherwise, and anyway, minimizing any outstanding debt.

  4. jake Silver badge

    Another solution for a new car:

    Restore an older car (or have it restored if you're not a wrench). Ground-up restos are spendy, true, but it's still far cheaper than purchasing a new car. And you get to pick the electronics, horsepower, drivetrain, brakes, suspension, wheels, safety equipment, interior, yadda, to suit yourself.

    Works for me, anyway :-)

    My fleet doesn't have a vehicle younger than 1972[0], and I'd have no issue driving any of them cross-country & back.

    [0] With the exception of the Peterbilt, which is a whole 'nuther kettle o'worms.

    1. quxinot Silver badge

      Re: Another solution for a new car:

      It is possible to buy a newish car (inside the past ten years) that doesn't have always-on communication to the mothership.

      It is not possible to do that with a phone, say. This is why phone buyers will put up with that crap, and suprising number of car consumers will not.

      Plus, having someone look at my texts without my consent is likely to cause them giggles/boredom, but having someone look over my speedometer without my consent is likely to cause me jail time.

    2. DropBear Silver badge

      Re: Another solution for a new car:

      My countless years of watching anything remotely car related, form the poshest "I know someone we can pass it off to, with profit, regardless of budget overruns" shows to the crummiest "a coat of spray can paint over the rims and we're good to flip it mate" ones left me firmly convinced that restoring any car with any level of properness costs several times the price of a brand new one, easily, no exceptions (and would probably suffice for an entire lifetime's worth of second hand car purchases). Unless of course your definition of "new car" targets a price bracket above what some supercars cost.

  5. Teiwaz Silver badge

    'Used to' or just used....?

    Smartphone users may be used to having everything they do tracked,

    Used to, or just totally unaware - not something they feel will impact them or do anything about so they just not worry...

    Will some future generation get wise (en mass) or just be more on the teat, because 'it's just how things work' and has done since their birth?

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Software solves anything!

    and software fixes when data from cars show a part is reacting to certain temperatures, based on location

    So my carburetor (cars still have those, right?) is making a loud clanking noise when it is hot outside, will the car software solve it by increasing the radio volume?

    Cars still have radios, right?

    1. boltar

      Re: Software solves anything!

      "So my carburetor (cars still have those, right?) "

      Wrong. Did you just step out of the 1970s? I doubt a mass produced car has been sold with a carb - in the west at least - for 20 years if not longer.

      1. Charles 9 Silver badge

        Re: Software solves anything!

        And before you say that carburetors are good enough for everyone, the main reason they went away is fuel efficiency. As carbs are completely mechanical, they're stuck being REactive, so they don't respond well to rapidly-changing conditions which makes your engine suffer. Thus the move to fuel injectors which can be controlled more carefully.

        1. DropBear Silver badge

          Re: Software solves anything!

          "And before you say that carburetors are good enough for everyone"

          Oh, not just good enough - BETTER! A carb-equipped car would have kept going (and if not, I guarantee I COULD HAVE MADE IT TO on the spot) when my smartly injection-controlled (but otherwise ancient) car left me able to crank but otherwise fully inert and thus stranded due to a mundane relay failure (that just happened to power... the ECU; as it turns out, it's a failure waiting to happen on every single car of that model: the entire production run of those relays tuned out to be faulty with a botched cold solder joint; naturally, they were never recalled).

          1. boltar

            Re: Software solves anything!

            "Oh, not just good enough - BETTER! A carb-equipped car would have kept going"

            Yeah, right. I remember cars from the 70s and 80s and they were in general unreliable piles of scrap iron no matter who made them. For any sufficiently long trip you had to have maps of potential garages "just in case" and half a boot full of spare parts. I remember one particular fun time being stuck on a motorway in the pissing rain with my parents as the distributer arm had broken - again. Give me electronically controlled and actuated engines any day.

            1. MJI Silver badge

              Re: Software solves anything!

              Most unreliable part of older cars was the fueling, carbs were a nightmare.

              Never owned a car with points as even my 1970s cars had electronic ignition.

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: Software solves anything!

                Never owned a car with points as even my 1970s cars had electronic ignition.

                Points on cars: A work of great evil. Back in the 70's most UK cars had mechanical distributors, and any vaguely damp morning would see entire street loads of cars failing to start, to the anthem nnnnaaaaaaaahhhhhh....nnnnnaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhh...nnnaaaaaaaggggghhhhhhh, although after a few short minutes both the pitch and volume dropped as the defeated motorist flattened the battery. Of course Britain's then state owned car basher and its lazy, bolshy workforce were perhaps more responsible for this than the underlying technology.

                1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

                  Re: Software solves anything!

                  Back in the 70's most UK cars had mechanical distributors, and any vaguely damp morning would see entire street loads of cars failing to start

                  Yes. Dodge was another manufacturer famous for their inability to make a distributor cap that kept out any moisture whatsoever. Stalling every time you stopped was just taken for granted, when it was wet out and the engine compartment hadn't yet warmed enough to dry the damned thing out.

                  Of course, it's not like that went away at the end of the 1970s. I had an '88 Hyundai Excel which cracked two dizzy caps, if memory serves. Also needed a number of other fairly minor repairs in the four years I had it, such as a thermostat replacement. On the plus side, it was dead simple to work on, since it was just a basic carb'd four-banger with a decent amount of room in the engine compartment.

                2. MJI Silver badge

                  Re: Software solves anything!

                  Mine just had trouble starting due to a small electric drain (never found it) and a stupid compression ratio.

                  In winter 5 min with battery charger. Or a bump start.

                  The head was skimmed about 1.5mm.

      2. quxinot Silver badge

        Re: Software solves anything!

        The last carb'd car that i'm aware of was sold in 1993 or so. So it's been 25 years.

        That said, a well-tuned carb gets fine mileage and the emissions aren't much an issue after it's warm (which is 95% of when emissions happen on any engine... cold motors don't burn fuel very well, and cold cats don't cat [?] very well).

        Of course, while you're paying a huge premium for EFI and multiple catalytic converters, notice that giant semi next to you, the commercial delivery truck, that has effectively an open exhaust and blasts soot everytime the light goes green? Yep! Just like the catalytic converters on airplanes and container ships....

        But more importantly, if we'd stop shrieking that the car was the end of the environment, we'd realize that things like cows and coal-fired powerplants are a bigger issue by far.

        No one wants to hear the right answer (and so I'm about to get massively downvoted) but STOP MAKING MORE PEOPLE. WE HAVE ENOUGH HUMANS TO GO AROUND. And that'll solve basically any eco-disaster-headline-maker you can come up with finding. Seven and a half billion people is too many.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Software solves anything!

          STOP MAKING MORE PEOPLE. WE HAVE ENOUGH HUMANS TO GO AROUND

          Amen to that.

          Food, water, fresh air, employment, housing are all in finite supply.....

          Let the planet survive for a few more million years on its own accord.

        2. Denarius Silver badge

          Re: Software solves anything!

          Qux.* you realise that on current trends all the world will have the same probelms as Japan and Singapore by 2050, right ? No plague or war needed

        3. boltar

          Re: Software solves anything!

          "Of course, while you're paying a huge premium for EFI and multiple catalytic converters, notice that giant semi next to you, the commercial delivery truck, that has effectively an open exhaust and blasts soot everytime the light goes green?"

          That might be true in the US but here in europe trucks are required by law to have particulate filters and NOx capture mechanisms (usually adblu).

          "we'd realize that things like cows and coal-fired powerplants are a bigger issue by far."

          They are, but you don't generally sit on top of a power station chimney or next to a cows arse breathing in the fumes.

          "STOP MAKING MORE PEOPLE. WE HAVE ENOUGH HUMANS TO GO AROUND."

          Can't disagree with that.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Software solves anything!

        Carburetors had to go away when catalytic converters became mandatory, they can't control with sufficient precision the fuel-air mixture - and if it is too rich and doesn't burn completely, the converter can be damaged or go aflame because of its heat.

        Lambda probes check the exhaust gas and send feedback to the injection system for any change required in mixture.

        But they were already going away in high-end engines because electronic injection allowed for far better performance.

        1. MJI Silver badge

          Re: Software solves anything!

          I had a car with EFI and no cat.

          Was fine.

          There was a carb model with poxy little engine, poxy with basic injection, but the biggest 4 cylinder EFI engine was so much better. Any differenences in manufacturing costs were all down to Bosch.

          When cats hit they got detuned, I deliberately bought pre cat to get the higher compression.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Software solves anything!

      "Cars still have radios, right?"

      No radio but they do come with 6 months FREE Spotify!

    3. Chemical Bob

      Re: Software solves anything!

      It would be simpler to just mount the rheostat on the intake manifold - no carburetor or radio necessary.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    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?'

    1. Anonymous Coward
      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.

      1. DropBear 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...

      2. Chemical Bob

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

        Time to buy an old Sears Motorcycle.

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

    2. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

      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'".

  8. Refugee from Windows

    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.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    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.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      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....

  10. Paul Kinsler

    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.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    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!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      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!

      1. Unep Eurobats
        Angel

        Re: So drive a..

        bicycle?

    2. boltar

      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.

      1. Neil Barnes 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.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      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.

      1. 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.

        1. DropBear Silver badge

          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.

    4. Denarius 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.

    5. nijam

      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?

  12. joeW

    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

    1. localgeek

      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.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        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?

        1. JohnFen 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.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        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......

    2. quxinot Silver badge

      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.

    3. 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.

  13. Unep Eurobats
    Go

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

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

  14. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

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

    Has the use of ad-blockers taught them nothing?

    1. Egghead & Boffin

      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.

      1. JohnFen Silver badge

        "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.

  15. Chronos 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.

  16. Jimbali

    Blow it up

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

  17. Anonymous Coward
    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.

  18. Wade Burchette

    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.

    1. JohnFen 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.

  19. Roj Blake 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.

  20. terrythetech

    '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

  21. Jim-234

    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.

  22. Compression Artifact
    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.)

    1. Roj Blake Silver badge

      Re: AI Back-Seat Drivers and Driving Examiners

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

      1. Charles 9 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).

  23. JohnFen 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,

  24. Someone Else Silver badge
    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.

  25. Someone Else 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....

    1. Updraft102 Silver badge

      Re: Double take

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

    2. JohnFen Silver badge

      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.

  26. spold 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...

  27. 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?

  28. Anonymous Coward
    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.

  29. JaitcH
    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.

  30. JohnFen Silver badge

    Brands can't love you

    "'Strengthens relationship between brand and driver' "

    No no no no no!

    A brand is not an entity that you "have a relationship" with. A brand is an indication of the manufacturer of the good or service, it is not a sentient thing that is deserving of affection or interaction.

    When marketing people talk like this, what they're really saying is "this will make it easier to trick people into having an emotional connection to your company that you can exploit to derive even more revenue."

  31. A_Melbourne

    TripTax.com - how to speed up traffic on the cheap

    I am waiting for the coin to drop and for people to understand that my proposal is:

    1- Way cheaper

    2- Highly flexible

    3- Uses today's technology

    4- Does not need infrastructure

    5- Does not need any gadget in cars

    Please check it out here:

    A Practical Way of Improving Road Traffic

    It is precisely because it does not offer big bucks to the fake privatisation companies that it will never be considered seriously as a contender IMHO

    1. Charles 9 Silver badge

      Re: TripTax.com - how to speed up traffic on the cheap

      It DOES need infrastructure in the form of the tax-farmers. How do you keep them honest, for example? Remember, NOTHING that is done by man can EVER be made simple for the simple reason that people CHEAT. It's human nature.

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