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

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  • weird analogy (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Quirkz (1206400) 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 Gabrill (556503) on Friday February 22, 2013 @04:50PM (#42984011)

      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.

      • 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.

        • by Runaway1956 (1322357) on Friday February 22, 2013 @11:36PM (#42987341) Homepage Journal

          It has been my impression that the car in question is not a "production model", but a test vehicle, or demo vehicle, which is routinely loaned out for testing by reporters, among other people. I would expect that such a vehicle has the tools to log problems, performance, state of charge, etc. The purpose of this specific vehicle seems to be to generate publicity, and to gather useful data.

          A separate question would be, should production vehicles, destined for consumer use, be capable of tracking the driver's usage of their vehicles?

          Well - collection of such data can be valuable when it comes time to troubleshoot a troublesome car. I can justify collecting it. I certainly CANNOT justify transmitting that data to the manufacturer, or to the police, or to anyone else. If someone thinks that they can justify gathering that data against the driver's will, then they can apply to a judge for a warrant to do so.

          • by DKlineburg (1074921) on Saturday February 23, 2013 @03:33AM (#42987959)
            Yes, but doesn't every GM come with On-Star? They say they will only use it to stop your call from being stolen. I know I saw an article on it. But basically and GM has not only track your but shut your engine of, use your blinkers for you. That is not a test vehicle. I due understand your point in this one case though.
    • by orthancstone (665890) on Friday February 22, 2013 @04:51PM (#42984031)
      In a sense, this practice is already taking place via certain insurance vendors that are offering in-car devices for tracking driving data. That's strictly opt-in. So the current mentality seems to respect your point.

      Consumers would do well to pressure the manufacturers to adopt a similar practice.
      • by tlhIngan (30335) <<ten.frow> <ta> <todhsals>> on Friday February 22, 2013 @05:56PM (#42984991)

        In a sense, this practice is already taking place via certain insurance vendors that are offering in-car devices for tracking driving data. That's strictly opt-in. So the current mentality seems to respect your point.

        Consumers would do well to pressure the manufacturers to adopt a similar practice.

        Didn't Obama recently sign into law making it mandatory for car manufacturers to insert black boxes into all their vehicles sold? (Most do already, but there are a few that don't).

        Now, granted, the law also states that the information in that black box is the property of the owner, and may not be forfeited without permission (to say, an insurance company).

      • by sfm (195458) on Friday February 22, 2013 @06:00PM (#42985035)

        Insurance companies currently have this as an "op-in choice", while evaluating the technology and statistically determining if it is a usable predictor of accidents. If it is successful for that task, I fully believe an active electronic vehicle monitor will become mandatory in order to get (affordable) insurance in the not too distant future.

    • by GameboyRMH (1153867) <gameboyrmhNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Friday February 22, 2013 @04:53PM (#42984047) Journal

      This is more like a browser history file on a borrowed computer.

      ALPR and cell tower tracking are more analogous to web tracking services. And then there are the insurance company "black boxes" which are analogous to Sony's CD rootkit.

    • by PRMan (959735) on Friday February 22, 2013 @05:04PM (#42984237)

      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.

      Tell that to On-Star: http://www.hummerforums.com/forum/general-hummer-talk-6/onstar-changes-tos-tracks-you-even-when-its-turned-off-25474/page2/ [hummerforums.com]

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

      by Man On Pink Corner (1089867) on Friday February 22, 2013 @05:21PM (#42984499)

      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

      Exactly. However, this was Tesla's car all along, so they were perfectly free to track it. The NYT did not own the car.

      Article is pointless clickbait. No one is arguing that they should be able to track your car, only their car.

  • by miroku000 (2791465) on Friday February 22, 2013 @04:14PM (#42983571)
    How many ip addresses does your car typically use? Mine usually uses 1-3. My cell phone and some times my wife's phone and my tablet. Each of these devices is being tracked because they are constantly switching between cell phone towers. In the future, (present?) I expect cars will all come with Google Maps integration and 4G with a built in wifi access point for easy tethering.
  • Bad analogy (Score:5, Informative)

    by SirGarlon (845873) on Friday February 22, 2013 @04:15PM (#42983581)
    Given that the "Do-not-track" option is a sad joke that will never protect anyone's privacy, I am going to go with "no." What we need instead is to restore the concept of "privacy" to something normal, routine, and backed by the force of law.
  • by DontScotty (978874) on Friday February 22, 2013 @04:16PM (#42983589) Homepage Journal

    You have a DO NOT TRACK option, called DO NOT BUY.

    If you buy into the car with sensors, recording, logging, and reporting - then you've really put the gun to your own head and pulled the trigger, eh?

    However, in the United States, driving is a privileged, not a right. Your car's position on public roadways is not private information. When your car wrecks in a suspected criminal manner - even if it is a 1957 Chevy, law enforcement gets to look at it, and record the speedometer reading if it was broken and held in place.

    The more sensors, the more information.

    Get informed, and make an informed decision.

    • 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 Obfuscant (592200) on Friday February 22, 2013 @04:51PM (#42984027)

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

        This. +2 mod. GPS based road taxes are not an "if" proposition, they are a "when". And electric vehicles will be the final nail in the coffin, since they pay no road taxes based on gasoline usage. The governments will not let that go forever. They're already whining because government-mandated fuel efficiencies are reducing the amount of gas tax revenue, when gas usage drops to zero for a lot of cars they'll have to react.

        In Oregon, they've already done studies and tests. I know one of the engineers involved. When I told her that this was going to result in tracking of every vehicle everywhere, she denied it. Of course, there was no explanation of how they would implement time and location based taxation (drive on a major highway at rush-hour taxed more than driving a back-road at midnight, and driving on private property not taxed at all) without keeping track of where and when each vehicle was driven.

        • by evilRhino (638506) on Friday February 22, 2013 @04:54PM (#42984085)
          Surely the free-market will find some private enterprise replacement for publicly funded highways without raising a new tax!
        • by lgw (121541) on Friday February 22, 2013 @05:19PM (#42984459) Journal

          This remains the most ridiculous idea I've ever heard. Here's why:

          - Most road wear is caused by heavy trucks.

          - Thos heavy trucks aren't being driven for fun; they're bringing goods to market that we all collectively buy.

          - Thus we all cause the majority of road wear through ordinary consumption, and how much each of us drives is nearly irrelevent,

          The whole "gas tax" system is a sham: the government wants every possible tax that people will tolerate paying, and because people don't understand the above they tolerate paying a gas tax, thinking it's somehow tied to the road wear they cause.

          • by Ichijo (607641) on Friday February 22, 2013 @05:43PM (#42984809) Homepage Journal

            Thos heavy trucks aren't being driven for fun; they're bringing goods to market that we all collectively buy.

            And as long as we continue to distort the market for freight transport by heavily subsidizing the trucking industry [jsonline.com], those trucks will continue to tear up our roads (literally) and contribute to traffic congestion when much of their cargo should instead go by rail which causes much less of a problem.

            I should also add that trains are three times as fuel-efficient as trucks, which means they create one-third as much air pollution. Air pollution costs us up to $1,600 per person annually. [foxnews.com]

            We would all save a lot of money if the trucking industry pulled its own weight, so to speak.

            • mod parent up, please. Though in either case (truck or rail) the government's power of eminent domain is required to connect the dots.

            • by lgw (121541) on Friday February 22, 2013 @06:39PM (#42985463) Journal

              My grocey store isn't on a rail line. Neither is the local mall, nor any other place I shop, really, nor my apartment when I order online.

              Every geek should know that it's the "last mile" that's the hard part.

              That being said, the government should of course stop subsidizing everything, everywhere, immediately, but that takes us a bit off topic.

              • by Uberbah (647458) on Friday February 22, 2013 @08:58PM (#42986607)

                My grocey store isn't on a rail line. Neither is the local mall, nor any other place I shop, really, nor my apartment when I order online.

                Sure sure, but the parent wasn't arguing for the elimination of trucking, but rather using rail when possible instead. Walk and chew bubble gum...you can be against urban cowboys driving F-250's that have never had their box filled or been outside of Dallas, but know that plenty of farmers and businesses actually need them....

              • If it's old enough, it USED to be on a rail line. (Well, probably. Horse drawn delivery happened, but it was slow and expensive.)

                The rail lines used to be a LOT more extensive. In some places they even shared the rails with passenger trolleys. (Need to use the same gauge rails, and need a lot more spur lines, of course. Still, cheaper than roads.)
                Note: Long distance trains never shared the rails with local trolleys. The appropriate guages for the two systems are too different. For fast trains you need a wide gague, but for slow trains narrow gague is good enough, you just can't take curves as fast.

                Then there were the horse cars. These were local cars, usually passenger, that ran on rails but were pulled by a horse rather than a steam engine. Not really reasonable anymore, as engines have gotten a LOT more efficient. But, again, it was a rail transport that reached into a LOT of local areas.

                These things have all been paved over now, and in most places their very memory has been erased. But they used to be common. If roads weren't subsidized, they still would be.

                As for the "last mile problem", its cheaper to emplace and maintain a rail system than an asphalt road system. But rails are a lot less convenient when everyone is driving their own vehicle, and wants to be able to pass whenever they feel like it. It's not really a last mile problem, it's a grandfather problem combined with impatient idiots who can't wait a block to pass. (Spur lines aren't that expensive or difficult, but they do add to the expense, and they lead to a rougher ride, so you want to limit the number of places that they can occur.)

                All that said, if you are going to have efficient rail travel, then you are going to have long trains with a need for constant speed which take a long time to stop. Perhaps a way around this could be found with electric motors in the wheels and automated switching, but nobody has been bothering, because of the grandfather problem: Even if you find a solution, it's nearly twice as expensive for rails and road to share the same space (ok, I exaggerate the price) and you to combine most of the inconveniences of each system. For some reason this isn't popular, and General Motors paid lots of money to ensure that rail would be junked. (This probably wasn't necessary, because impatient idiots are so common that roads would probably have won anyway, but it would have taken longer.)

                P.S.: Some of what I said doesn't apply to older road systems, and has only become possible with electronically controlled switches. Which is another reason that roads originally won. Now, though, the reason is the network effect (also the grandfather effect...that which is already there is favored of something different, so a new competitor needs to be a LOT better).

        • by dgatwood (11270) on Friday February 22, 2013 @05:30PM (#42984643) Journal

          GPS-based taxes are a stupid solution to a simple problem. Tax cars based on the number of miles driven. Yes, some of your miles will be spent outside your state, but other vehicles from other states will spend some of their miles in your state, so on the whole, it should roughly balance out, so long as everyone adopts the same standard. And to the extent that there is an actual imbalance caused by more people visiting a state (e.g. Florida) than leaving to visit other states, you can always make up that difference by increasing your bed tax.

          And on a more selfish note, if your state assumes that all your drivers' miles are spent in your state, then if another state near you does GPS, in the best case, you'll get extra cash when their drivers cross the line, but you won't lose money if your drivers cross the line into their state. By contrast, if you choose GPS and they choose to assume that all miles are spent in their state, you'll end up paying those other states when your drivers cross the line into those other states, but you won't get anything back from them when their drivers cross the line into yours. So from a practical perspective, a state would have to be positively stupid to willingly choose GPS unless all states universally adopted that standard simultaneously.

          By contrast, the "assume all miles are spent in your state" standard is one that your state can safely adopt today. And if the vehicle is a hybrid, you could allow drivers to submit gas station receipts from other states to buy down the miles based on the fact that they already paid a gas tax in another state. No GPS is needed for that. Such a solution is by far the most sane, as it has minimal impact on gasoline-based driving, while creating a much simpler, less invasive, and more easily managed scheme for electric-based driving.

          • by Obfuscant (592200) on Friday February 22, 2013 @06:39PM (#42985459)

            Tax cars based on the number of miles driven. Yes, some of your miles will be spent outside your state,

            Or on private roads/farms. Some vehicles almost never leave a farm, but they rack up miles of use anyway.

            How do you determine miles driven? Mandatory vehicle inspections? Sure.

            then if another state near you does GPS, in the best case, you'll get extra cash when their drivers cross the line,

            Where do you come up with this whopper from? You expect other states to collect road taxes on your state's behalf? They get to spend the money doing the collection just to hand money over to your state? Sure. Just like sales taxes someone pays in another state are tallied up and sent to the state of residence... not.

            And if the vehicle is a hybrid, you could allow drivers to submit gas station receipts from other states to buy down the miles based on the fact that they already paid a gas tax in another state.

            Thus creating a paperwork nightmare for both the consumer and the government. Also a giant loophole for anyone who lives near a border. They cross the border every time to fill up, but they spend most of their miles on their home state roads.

            Such a solution is by far the most sane, as it has minimal impact on gasoline-based driving, while creating a much simpler, less invasive, and more easily managed scheme for electric-based driving.

            Really? You think having people keep track of paper receipts and filing extra paperwork, along with mandatory visual inspection of every vehicle's milage, is simpler and more easily managed than a simple device in every car that is pinged by a radio system to report time/location data logged by a computer? The initial concept in Oregon was that this data would be uploaded every time you stopped to buy gas. All-electric vehicles need to recharge, so having an upload at each recharge is their answer.

            Plus the advantage that GPS tracking allows use of the road tax as a social engineering tool, coercing people to drive during off-peak hours or non-main routes. That saves money by not having to expand infrastructure to deal with peak loads and makes people feel good about "being green" (and we all know that feeling good about being green is much more important than really being green...).

            • We already have mandatory vehicle inspections in many, if not all, states. They're called emissions tests, and things like the odometer and vehicle ID are already logged or easily could be. It's not difficult to imagine that vehicle license registration requires an odometer tax, and do away with the fuel tax. In fact, it would be easy.

              The hard part is dealing with the people who complain that they shouldn't have to pay public road taxes for vehicles which only operate on private property, but of course, they're already paying those taxes when they buy fuel for the vehicles. Big whoop.

            • by dgatwood (11270) on Friday February 22, 2013 @08:42PM (#42986485) Journal

              Or on private roads/farms. Some vehicles almost never leave a farm, but they rack up miles of use anyway.

              Easily solved. Have a separate license plate with a much lower per-mile fee for farm vehicles that get only incidental on-road use.

              How do you determine miles driven? Mandatory vehicle inspections?

              For states that already have them, sure. For other states, it would be a simple line item on your tax return, and a simple reporting requirement when the vehicle is transferred. Sure, you could lie about it for a while, but eventually you'll have to sell the car or take it to the junkyard, at which point you'll get hit with a colossal tax bill.

              Thus creating a paperwork nightmare for both the consumer and the government.

              First, most people don't regularly drive their cars outside the state and buy gasoline outside the state. So it's a small amount of effort for 99.999% of the driving public (commercial trucking excepted). They just save their gas receipts for the (statistically) one trip that they take during the summer.

              Second, it's a temporary increase in paperwork. Hybrids are not the way of the future. They're a stopgap until we can come up with a better means of storing and delivering power. My solution creates a temporary and small amount of paperwork to avoid a large and permanent loss of privacy.

              Really? You think having people keep track of paper receipts and filing extra paperwork, along with mandatory visual inspection of every vehicle's milage, is simpler and more easily managed than a simple device in every car that is pinged by a radio system to report time/location data logged by a computer? The initial concept in Oregon was that this data would be uploaded every time you stopped to buy gas. All-electric vehicles need to recharge, so having an upload at each recharge is their answer.

              Yes. I think a system whereby owners are required to periodically report mileage on a piece of paper is simpler than a piece of technology that could make significant errors, resulting in very costly tax bills and lawsuits.

              I also think a system in which you are charged a flat fee by the mile, regardless of where you drove, and in which tax revenue is distributed to states and localities based on their population is much, much simpler than any computer-based system, precisely because a computer-based system will invariably lead to a slippery slope in which each community demands greater and greater detail in the data, until eventually it is trying to compute how many times you drove down a particular block of a particular road so that the people who live on that road can get their fair share of the highway dollars.

              Plus the advantage that GPS tracking allows use of the road tax as a social engineering tool, coercing people to drive during off-peak hours or non-main routes.

              This is not an advantage. Getting people to use non-main routes just results in a lot of high-speed traffic on minor roads and an increase in pedestrian accidents. If the roads can't handle peak travel, then you either need wider roads or more major roads, period.

              Besides, you're never going to convince people to drive at off-peak times through something like this. There's no instantaneous feedback. You find out how much you were billed at the end of the month or the end of the year or whatever. It's not like a toll that you have to actively pay, which actually makes you think as you're driving, "Maybe I should travel at a cheaper time in the future". Psychologically speaking, it isn't likely to have any real impact at all other than making people mad about what they will view as a tax on having a 9-to-5 job.

              The only real way to make roads more green is to reduce the number of stops, the amount of time spent idling, and the number of turns/curves. That process really has

              • by DKlineburg (1074921) on Saturday February 23, 2013 @05:44AM (#42988249)

                First, most people don't regularly drive their cars outside the state and buy gasoline outside the state.

                New York City? Don't a lot of people live out of state?

                My only thought is why even bother with hybreds? If you remove the gas tax, you just tax per mile. I must admit I don't like the idea, but it is better than GPS.

                • by dgatwood (11270) on Saturday February 23, 2013 @02:17PM (#42990319) Journal

                  New York City? Don't a lot of people live out of state?

                  Washington D.C. has the same problem. However, I believe I covered that two levels up:

                  And to the extent that there is an actual imbalance caused by more people visiting a state (e.g. Florida) than leaving to visit other states, you can always make up that difference by increasing your bed tax.

                  Granted, in those two particularly unusual edge cases, true visitors have a bigger burden because the commuters aren't actually paying the tax, but that's already the case with the current system. Raise your hand if you routinely buy gasoline in NYC or D.C. rather than at the much cheaper stations near your suburban home.

                  Crickets chirp.

                  So no real impact, then, assuming you continue to charge bridge and tunnel tolls.

      • by h4rr4r (612664) on Friday February 22, 2013 @05:16PM (#42984409)

        Why not just use the odometer?

        Sure you might drive out of state, but other people will drive in your state as well so it should come out in the wash.

        • by Obfuscant (592200) on Friday February 22, 2013 @06:44PM (#42985511)

          Why not just use the odometer?

          Driver A drives mostly to and from work, using major roads during rush hours, helping stress the road system and create a demand for increased capacity.

          Driver B drives mostly around the farm, but goes into town to pick up things from time to time. He uses mostly private roads, or small country roads that are lightly used at most.

          They both drive the same number of miles, but one of them puts much more of a demand upon the road system and costs more to support. How will this difference "come out in the wash"? Consider that driver B already files a farm use exemption so he gets a lot of his gas tax money back, but under a flat "use the odometer" option he pays the same amount as Driver A. His taxes go way up, his road usage does not.

      • by alispguru (72689) <bane@NoSPam.gst.com> on Friday February 22, 2013 @05:19PM (#42984449) Journal

        A box that has a GPS unit and a database of state boundaries. It is attached to your car, and it logs how far your car moves within each state. It does no long-term path logging - its only purpose is so you can bring it to your state DMV once a year, get its totals read for your state, and get a bill for highway maintenance.

        This thing must be open-source, so we can all trust that it's not a Big Brother tracking box.

      • GPS-for-road-tax

        Won't and can't work. My car is 24 years old. I know what every single part is, and you can probably find my fingerprints on all of them. There is no way to attach a device like this that I can't disable or remove it.

        • by drkim (1559875) on Friday February 22, 2013 @06:11PM (#42985147)

          GPS-for-road-tax

          Won't and can't work. My car is 24 years old. I know what every single part is, and you can probably find my fingerprints on all of them. There is no way to attach a device like this that I can't disable or remove it.

          Not the point.

          Once this is government mandated, you will have to carry this with you - just like having plates, registration and proof of insurance. If they stop you, and you don't have it, they will fine/impound you.

          • by Obfuscant (592200) on Friday February 22, 2013 @09:35PM (#42986835)

            Once this is government mandated, you will have to carry this with you - just like having plates, registration and proof of insurance. If they stop you, and you don't have it, they will fine/impound you.

            What's more likely is a dual-tax system until the old cars die and are replaced by cars with mandatory GPS tracking units. When you go to the pump, if your car doesn't have a GPS unit, you pay the normal road use taxes in the fuel charges. If you have a GPS, your data is uploaded and your tax is computed and added to a tax-less fuel price. That's what the Oregon DOT was floating as the means of changeover.

            In fact, I can even imagine that the tax for non-GPS users goes up to the point that the price of fuel for them becomes in incentive to install the tracking device, just like in a few years the price for car insurance will go up for people who aren't installing the "snapshot" devices to the point that most people will do it. Just like health insurance companies that used to offer a small discount to people who do "healthy" things are now charging a surcharge to people who don't "voluntarily" participate in those "healthy things" programs. Like Oregon's PEBB insurance programs, where people who don't agree to stop smoking pay a surcharge, or people who don't "volunteer" to participate in the "health engagement model" (HEM) pay more. Agree to tell them your waist size and take two online health management courses and you pay less than those who don't.

            What's funny about that latter program is that the courses are naturally privacy invasive. "Tell us about your XYZ condition..." they say. There is a "no" option. "Ok, we can't teach you much about this because you aren't willing to share. Bye...". But you still get credit for the course. Makes taking the courses really easy, but almost useless. Almost as useless as the one I did answer stuff regarding depression, the suggestions from which could be summed up as "be happier, do happier things". Thanks. Didn't think of that.

    • by joe_frisch (1366229) on Friday February 22, 2013 @05:40PM (#42984773)

      Unfortunately "do not buy" my not be practical. When production cars are all equipped with GPS monitoring (as is likely) how do I "not buy" if I want to drive. Sure you can not drive, not use a cell phone, not travel by air, not use a credit card, not use the internet etc, but the impact on your standard of living is very large if you wan't to avoid being tracked.

  • by Grayhand (2610049) on Friday February 22, 2013 @04:17PM (#42983605)
    It's a great topic but a poor example. The car was on loan for testing and a reviewer should not assume they have privacy rights for the obvious reason this story points out that the reviewer lied in the reviewer and was caught by the black box and it wasn't their car. Now if the reviewer had purchased the car things might have been different. Personally I dislike black boxes and we should always assume they are turned on since it can be done without our permission. An example being the police.
    • by postbigbang (761081) on Friday February 22, 2013 @04:43PM (#42983927)

      I believe it ought to be opt-in. If you're a reviewer, opt-in for corroboration is a good idea-- but up to the honesty and revealed perspective of the reviewer, ultimately.

      My personal choice is: no data is recorded unless I chose it, knowingly and willingly and without repudiation. Otherwise, I don't believe their coders, and I want to see source before you accuse me of anything. Then, under tested third party conditions, that code has to be corroborated through empirical testing. Otherwise, your code can lie like a rug about my testing of the upper-end-limits of engine revving, and so forth.

    • by blueg3 (192743) on Friday February 22, 2013 @05:02PM (#42984205)

      The car was on loan for testing and a reviewer should not assume they have privacy rights...

      Particularly since apparently they're informed of this in advance.

    • 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.

    • by swilde23 (874551) on Friday February 22, 2013 @05:12PM (#42984337) Journal

      Can we mod this parent up to 6 and all the other people missing this very point down to "off-topic"?

      Seriously, apples and oranges. Tesla's cars were being "tracked" because they were in a car being reviewed... AND the reviewer knew about it prior to even getting in the car.

    • by sunderland56 (621843) on Friday February 22, 2013 @05:37PM (#42984719)

      Absolutely. In this case the data was collected with the owner's permission, since the car's owner was, and still is, Tesla Motors.

  • 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 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".

  • 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 Tailhook (98486) on Friday February 22, 2013 @04:22PM (#42983671)

    You mean the Do-Not-Track that is almost universally ignored [slashdot.org]? Yeah, lets do that. It's sure to work this time.

    Obama has already mandated [huffingtonpost.com] black-boxes for all new vehical by 2014. Both the EPA and the IRS are going to paw that eventually.

    Game over, sheeple.

  • by alen (225700) on Friday February 22, 2013 @04:26PM (#42983707)

    onstar has an actual cell phone in the car that tracks your car and can be used in emergencies. its different than having a map on an internal computer and logging the GPS data of your driving habits.

    there is a very good reason for tracking GPS and driving data of a car and uploading an annonymized version to the manufacturers systems for post-sale support when you take your car in for service

  • Nissan's approach (Score:5, Informative)

    by swillden (191260) <shawn-ds@willden.org> on Friday February 22, 2013 @04:27PM (#42983725) Homepage Journal

    My Nissan LEAF also tracks all your driving. Nissan's solution to the question of privacy is to pop a dialog on the in-dash touchscreen every time the car is started, asking you if you want to send your data to them. Unless you press "Yes", that drive is not tracked.

    People actually exploit this to game the driving efficiency rankings. Hop in, hit "No", drive to the top of a hill, then turn the car off and on, hit "Yes" and coast to the bottom of the hill. Do that a little and you can look like you regularly achieve 20+ miles per kWh.

    • by dotancohen (1015143) on Friday February 22, 2013 @07:45PM (#42986077) Homepage

      My Nissan LEAF also tracks all your driving. Nissan's solution to the question of privacy is to pop a dialog on the in-dash touchscreen every time the car is started, asking you if you want to send your data to them. Unless you press "Yes", that drive is not tracked.

      Correction: Your Nissan LEAF also tracks all your driving.

  • by cachimaster (127194) on Friday February 22, 2013 @04:29PM (#42983739)

    Every car since 1990 logs dozens of internal variables that you can access via this [wikipedia.org] protocol. No different that what tesla does. They didn't track the guy via GPS, they only published charge/discharge patterns from the battery.

  • 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 mykepredko (40154) on Friday February 22, 2013 @04:36PM (#42983815) Homepage

    Wouldn't the best answer for an individual be based on their driving habits and history?

    If you tended to stay at the speed limit (or reasonably above according to traffic), were a defensive driver and were reasonably confident that you wouldn't cause an accident, wouldn't you want tracking on to show that it's the other guys fault?

    Depending on your hubris level, the next step is a dashboard camera because clearly you are never going to cause an accident - right?

    myke

  • 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 Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) on Friday February 22, 2013 @05:39PM (#42984751)

      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.

      Yeah, not going to happen. The people with power will be able to game the system - they will figure out (or more likely hire) people to create false trails. Thinking that a panopticon society could ever be a level playing field is to ignore basically all of recorded history.

    • by King_TJ (85913) on Friday February 22, 2013 @05:50PM (#42984901) Journal

      Maybe you're just trying to troll with this comment (especially on a site like Slashdot, where it's clear the majority holds an opposing view)?

      But I'll respond anyway, because I have no doubt SOME people out there feel this way about privacy.

      1. Why would you advocate mandatory tracking of people? This in no way equates to enforcing a right people traditionally had anywhere on the planet. Regardless of your opinion on the legality of having the ABILITY to do such a thing, a demand that it become a REQUIREMENT for everyone amounts to no less than declaring a new basic human, inalienable right that didn't exist before. That's a pretty tall order, don't you think?

      2. Right now, I think what we're struggling with is an over-saturation of information. Technology has given us the capability to monitor, track and store so many different things, we're burying ourselves in data! There's a reason some of the most successful companies today are pushing search engines (Microsoft Bing waging an advertising war on Google search, etc.). We're able to collect so much data, it's becoming completely useless without tools to sift through the whole mess, to find what someone actually needs. I don't see much value in demanding we collect MORE data on everyone's whereabouts at every moment in time. I mean, when do we stop pouring data into storage devices just because we CAN do it, and start asking ourselves what's really worth collecting?

      3. You make a claim that mankind will increasingly value celebrity over privacy. I'd say that if so, that simply reflects poorly on our collective ability to reason. The desire for celebrity is usually a very short-sighted one. Basically, it amounts to a person chasing after impulses rather than thinking about the long-term ramifications of their decisions. If you ask the "experts" on this subject, meaning actual celebrities who have been in the public eye for decades? I'm pretty sure most of them would tell you how much they despise the paparazzi trying to photograph them at every turn, and the reporters constantly trying to corner them to ask them personal questions. They lost pretty much any privacy they had when they became big celebrities, and it wasn't really a conscious choice so much as an unwanted side-effect for most of them.

  • Welcome (Score:5, Funny)

    by puddingebola (2036796) on Friday February 22, 2013 @04:43PM (#42983929) Journal
    Greetings undercover CIA personnel, welcome to glorious leader's free wi-fi access. Please feel free to communicate with your contacts and login to accounts and databases in United States and Japan. All communications 100% encrypted by glorious leader himself, ensuring the utmost confidentiality in communications. Also, please friend and like us on Facebook.
  • Trusting others to not track our vehicles is idealistic and naive. Active anti-tracking would be required. So, what are the ways in which your vehicle might be tracked? Well, one has to contend with radar, satellite, mobile phone towers, drones, and human vision, amongst others. Assuming you don't mind not receiving any external signals while driving, the geek solution would be to envelop your vehicle in a Faraday Cage [wikipedia.org], then cover that external structure with some low visibility camouflage, low reflectivity material in the IR, UV, and X-ray ranges, and also a layer of crushed glass glued onto the roof to mess up optical sensors. An acoustic cancellation system would help to reduce the vehicle's audible signature, and vehicle heat dispersal would need to be ducted in a tightly focused jet directed at randomly selected azimuths for short durations.

    Sounds like quite a lot of work.

  • by Minwee (522556) <dcr@neverwhen.org> on Friday February 22, 2013 @04:53PM (#42984057) Homepage

    Perhaps there should be a "Do-Not-Lie-Through-Your-Teeth" option for journalists.

    It would have solved the same problem that Tesla's black box did.

  • by BoRegardless (721219) on Friday February 22, 2013 @05:03PM (#42984229)

    Tyrannical nature of large governments is to "tax" miles driven (San Francisco) & grow, thus requiring built-in monitoring as a means of tracking you any time they want. Then they "fine" you if you disable the monitoring or help others do it.

    Our founders were aware of governments to become self-growing, cancer like entities.

    • by MartinSchou (1360093) on Friday February 22, 2013 @07:07PM (#42985747)

      Is there a better way to figure out who should pay for the upkeep and extensions of the roads, that by usage? If you drive 200 miles a day on the roads and your neighbour drives 200 miles a year, should he pay as much as you (a non-zero amount of course)? Isn't that [boogie man voice]socialism[/boogie man voice]?

      Unless we either switch entirely to toll roads for everything or let the current infrastructure decay completely, the government needs to get funding for those upkeeps and extensions.

      Or were you under the impression that the roads were made by the Asphalt and Concrete Fairies?

  • by kheldan (1460303) on Friday February 22, 2013 @05:07PM (#42984271) Journal
    I wouldn't own a vehicle that was being tracked. Where I go and when I go there is nobody's damned business.
  • by no-body (127863) on Friday February 22, 2013 @05:30PM (#42984641)
    In this day and age - get a life!
    Any opportunity to play with a new gadget and opportunity of tracking will be tried and used.

    It's only for your own good...
  • by Vrtigo1 (1303147) on Friday February 22, 2013 @05:31PM (#42984649)
    The test drive TFA is referring to was in a car owned by Tesla which was loaned to the reported for the purpose of writing the article. Tesla acquired the logs after he returned the car to them. So to summarize, the reporter drove Tesla's car, and TFA wants us to be upset that Tesla analyzed the logs from the test drive that was taken in THEIR car.

    How is this ANY different than virtually every other car that's been sold in the past 5 years? Cars have the equivalent of airplane "black boxes" that record speed, whether your seat belt was fastened, etc. This data can be used in court if someone claims that their car caused them serious injury. Many times the automaker will bring out logs that shows the owner was speeding and/or not wearing their safety belt.

    Automakers also routinely pull these logs when you take your car in for service. They track how long you've been driving between oil changes, so for example if your engine breaks down prematurely, they can show that you routinely miss the recommended scheduled maintenance intervals. I don't see how this is any different from a web administrator using website logs to diagnose a problem when a user reports it.

    Now if we're talking about detailed location data, then I think there ought to be a justifiable reason for the manufacturer to be able to look at that. Perhaps we could extend that to the traditional right to privacy and require a search warrant to obtain that information.
  • by Medievalist (16032) on Friday February 22, 2013 @05:48PM (#42984883)

    Here in the 20th century, we have the ability to track your car from a distance without your knowledge.

    I understand that in the 21st century you monkeymen no longer have satellites, planes, surveillance drones, or cameras, though. You maniacs! You blew it up! Ah, damn you! God damn you all to hell!

  • by tbird81 (946205) on Friday February 22, 2013 @08:38PM (#42986455)

    Do the Slashdot editors know the difference? (Probably, but they use track as it's more emotive, although in the Tesla case.)

    Track means something/someone is monitoring where you go and what you do. The Model S just had a log, and after a purposely inaccurate and disparaging review, Telsa looked at the log and found that Broader's facts were completely wrong and slanted to make the vehicle look much worse than reality.

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