Today I saw this article from The USA Today about privacy and cars. The article starts off by stating that today almost every car today has more and more on-board computers, and these computers are collecting consumers data. Many people don’t know they’re data is being collecting, but still it is happening with their permission. A lot of people simply sign those agreements unaware of what that means for their data collection. The article also states that in the future it will be even harder for individuals to subvert being watched.
The article goes on to discuss three systems that monitors drivers. The first system is Electronic Data Recorders (EDR) or more commonly known as black boxes. These systems record information about the car most commonly used to see what happened in the case of an accident: how fast the car was going, were seat-belts engaged, were the airbags deployed, etc. The second system is Infotainment systems and on-board computers. These systems provide more information to car manufacturers to see how the car is running. Oil changes and tire pressures are examples. The third category is transponders. These devices are used for traffic studies. Something interesting, Progressive gives their drivers discounts of 10% to 15% on drivers premiums for access to install transponders in their cars.
What interested me about this article was how it seems that if we as a society want to progress and live better lives we need to give up some of our privacy. For instance some company could have transponders installed in people’s cars. They could use that data to give other drivers important traffic information and road situations. Also if we want our cars to be the safest possible car manufacturers need real world car data. Finally, and most importantly if we are ever to have self driving cars we’ll have to give up all the data of our cars. So, I see the need to give up our data, and that in today’s world I don’t think that our data will be used so severely against us. However, should things change, and citizens for instance come under the rule of an oppressive government, this car data could be very dangerous, and that bothers me slightly. The data might not be used against us but I would sure hate to give someone the opportunity too.