Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Government Transportation Privacy Hardware Your Rights Online

Ask Slashdot: Will Cars Eventually Need a Do-Not-Track Option? 170

Posted by Soulskill
from the could-use-one-now dept.
Nerval's Lobster writes "Earlier this month, a very public argument erupted between Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk and New York Times reporter John Broder, who claimed in a Feb. 8 column that his electric-powered Model S sedan had ground to a halt on a lonely stretch of Connecticut highway, starved for power. Musk retaliated by publishing the data from Broder's test drive, which suggested the reporter had driven the vehicle at faster speeds than he had claimed in the article (which would have drained the battery at a quicker rate) and failed to fully charge the car at available stations. Musk seems to have let the whole thing drop, but the whole brouhaha raises a point that perhaps deserves further exploration: the rising use of sensors in cars, and whether an automobile company—or any other entity, for that matter—has the right to take data from those sensors and use it for their own ends without the owner's permission. (For his part, Musk has claimed that Tesla only turns on data logging with 'explicit written permission from customers.') What do you think, Slashdot? Do we need the equivalent of a 'Do-Not-Track' option for cars?"
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Ask Slashdot: Will Cars Eventually Need a Do-Not-Track Option?

Comments Filter:
  • weird analogy (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Quirkz (1206400) <ross @ q u i r k z.com> on Friday February 22, 2013 @04:13PM (#42983557) Homepage
    Do not track applies because you're visiting someone else's territory. There should already be a default inability to track your car based on the same logic that I'm not allowed to place a bug on your car and track you now. Companies should have to be given explicit permission to be able to do so. Opt-in rather than opt-out.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 22, 2013 @04:19PM (#42983631)

    No.

    This was a test drive in a specially prepared loaner car from the manufacturer, which the reporter got to drive for free. The reporter knew the deal he (or his employer) would have signed a stack of releases in order to drive it.

    Even with an eye to the future where such logging is widespread, we don't need any kind of "do-not-track"; we do need courts to recognize that information stored on our devices is equivalent to the "papers and effects" in our homes, and thus cannot be searched or seized without due process.

  • by i kan reed (749298) on Friday February 22, 2013 @04:20PM (#42983641) Homepage Journal

    Highly unlikely given the likelihood of GPS-for-road-tax coming not too far down the line.

  • by Imagix (695350) on Friday February 22, 2013 @04:21PM (#42983655)
    For any question asked in the subject line, the correct answer is no. For the specific example cited, it _was_ the owner of the car (Tesla) that was using the collected data as they saw fit. The only reason that this is being raised as an issue is because the reporter got caught trying to fudge the results, and now trying to cry foul (Reminds me of the scene from "Liar, Liar": "FR: Your honor, I object!" "Judge: Why?" "FR: Because it's devastating to my case!"). I bet there would be absolutely no issue if Tesla had come out and said that the data corroborated the reporter's story. Actually, I'm willing to bet that there would have been a big ruckus made if the data did show that and Tesla refused to release it.
  • by hawguy (1600213) on Friday February 22, 2013 @04:27PM (#42983717)

    No.

    This was a test drive in a specially prepared loaner car from the manufacturer, which the reporter got to drive for free. The reporter knew the deal he (or his employer) would have signed a stack of releases in order to drive it.

    Even with an eye to the future where such logging is widespread, we don't need any kind of "do-not-track"; we do need courts to recognize that information stored on our devices is equivalent to the "papers and effects" in our homes, and thus cannot be searched or seized without due process.

    If the new sensors and tracking spawn any kind of legislation, I'd rather that the legislation be geared toward ensuing open access -- make the manufacturers publish API's and data formats for the data that the car tracks so I can use the data as I want. Let me read the "black box" if I want to, don't tell me "Oh, you need this $20,000 diagnostic computer to read it, then you have to send the data to us for analysis".

  • They might... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by SeaFox (739806) on Friday February 22, 2013 @04:33PM (#42983783)

    ... but you wont get one.

    The insurance industry lobby and DHS will see to that.

  • by ShieldW0lf (601553) on Friday February 22, 2013 @04:42PM (#42983907) Journal

    I think tracking should be mandatory, and that it should be accessible to all people. You should be able to know where I am at all times, and I should be able to know where you are at all times, and people who take steps to create obscurity around themselves should be treated as untrustworthy.

    Which is nice, because what I think should happen is going to happen regardless of how much a few vocal people bitch about it. This and previous generations of man have taken their own ignorance for granted and see no loss in accepting ignorance in exchange for the competitive advantage secrecy grants them. The up and coming generation of man has the internet at their finger tips, they feel entitled to be informed, and they prefer celebrity to privacy.

    Those people will think currently popular views on privacy are primitive, naive and outdated. Just like I do.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 22, 2013 @05:03PM (#42984217)

    According to Musk, Broder signed a loan agreement when he picked up the car and there was a clause in the agreement that stated that the vehicle had telemetry installed. Broder should have read the stuff he was signing, as he gave written permission for the vehicle to be monitored.

    Nobody is suggesting this level of monitoring should be applied to all vehicles. However, all car manufacturers put this sort of telemetry in their development vehicles these days. Car rental companies are already collecting a lot of this data also.

  • Re:weird analogy (Score:5, Insightful)

    by gstoddart (321705) on Friday February 22, 2013 @05:03PM (#42984223) Homepage

    By admitting the need for an opt-in requirement, you are implicitly agreeing with the need for an opt-out mechanism. You're arguing semantics.

    No, because an opt-out mechanism starts with the assumption they have the right to track your information, and you need to turn it off.

    An opt-in mechanism acknowledges that you need to give them permission first.

    Now ponder what opt-out for spam would function like, and ask yourself if you really think opt-out vs opt-in is a matter of semantics.

Those who can, do; those who can't, simulate.

Working...