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LoJack To Release Tracking Devices For Consumers, Insurance, and Auto Makers 144

Posted by samzenpus
from the where-are-you-going? dept.
Lucas123 writes "Next year, LoJack plans to come out with a telematics system that will allow parents to track their children's cars, auto makers to record vehicle diagnostics and insurance companies to review driving habits as the basis of rate quotes. LoJack said the wireless tracking systems will likely come in several forms, including a OBD II plug-in dongle as well as a factory installable model. The company said it has no plans to sell any information collected through a cloud service connected to the devices, but to only share it with stakeholders — either vehicle owners or businesses that have been given the OK to collect and use the data. Additional features will include the ability for parents to set up geo fences to restrict where their children can drive before alerts can sent as well as the ability to restrict and texting while the vehicle is being operated."
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LoJack To Release Tracking Devices For Consumers, Insurance, and Auto Makers

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  • Hahaha (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 25, 2013 @06:17PM (#45519631)

    The company said it has no plans to sell any information collected through a cloud service connected to the devices

    And you'd be an idiot to think they won't silently change this in an EULA update.

    • Re:Hahaha (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Jane Q. Public (1010737) on Monday November 25, 2013 @06:49PM (#45520005)

      "And you'd be an idiot to think they won't silently change this in an EULA update."

      You'd be an idiot to agree to this at all. But you make a good point:

      This pervasive surveillance did not come about by accident. It came about by consumers (and others) agreeing to a little bit here, and a little bit there, because "it will never be used THAT way..." And of course, eventually it IS used exactly that way.

      Consumers -- and citizens in general -- MUST get it through their heads that if they give away to somebody the ability to do something, including things that have the potential to steal away their privacy, eventually it will be used in just that way. History is full of such lessons.

      Just don't give it to them in the first place! The potential good is far outweighed by the potential harm. As Lyndon Johnson (not one of my favorite people) said about this kind of thing: "You do not examine legislation in the light of the benefits it will convey if properly administered, but in the light of the wrongs it would do and the harms it would cause if improperly administered."

      This is true, not just of legislation, but of technology too. There are some ways it should not be used. If you let it, the consequences will be bad. It's that simple.

      • by tibit (1762298)

        Especially if such ability is merely a software update away. That's really what people don't get. You get a cellphone, it's one remote and silent software update away from being turned into a snooping device that constantly records the audio and GPS location data, and periodically uploads it to a server somewhere. That's assuming that such functionality isn't present in the software from Day 1.

        • by citizenr (871508)

          Forget software. Apple put M7, hardware dedicated to tracking when phone is sleeping or turned of. They dont want to lose track of you when battery is too low.

      • by AmiMoJo (196126) *

        We need to have a legal framework for EULAs that boils them down to a few simple bullet points so that ordinary people can reasonably be expected to read and understand them. Things like:

        - We own everything you create with the service or upload
        - We will sell your private data to anyone willing to pay
        - We never delete anything
        - Anything we sell you is infected with DRM and we will try to stop you reselling it or exercising your fair use rights

        Kind of like app permissions.

        • "We need to have a legal framework for EULAs that boils them down to a few simple bullet points so that ordinary people can reasonably be expected to read and understand them. Things like:"

          The thing about EULAs is that companies can change them... in fact some of them want you to believe that they have the (legal) right to change them at any time, regardless of what it said when you bought said product. (IANAL but but in general: no.)

          The whole concept of a EULA is to protect the company, not you. If they wanted you to be protected, they'd just sell it to you rather than "license" it.

    • by Mitreya (579078)

      The company said it has no plans to sell any information collected through a cloud service connected to the devices

      And you'd be an idiot to think they won't silently change this in an EULA update.

      They don't have to!
      There currently are "no plans", mostly because they first need to collect the data before they can properly price it.

      It would also be able to restrict talking or texting on a smartphone while a vehicle is in operation.

      Ok, that is just creepy. How about extending that to forced ads?
      "Watch this commercial and you can talk on your phone for the next two days while you are driving"

    • by amiga3D (567632)

      Soon enough we'll have a government mandate for this anyway. Think of how safe we'll be from the terrorists.

      • by mcgrew (92797) *

        I'm far more scared of idiots texting while driving than I am of terrorists. In fact, terrorists don't worry me at all.

    • Re:Hahaha (Score:5, Interesting)

      by GIL_Dude (850471) on Monday November 25, 2013 @07:06PM (#45520177) Homepage
      If it was designed properly, they would not HAVE any information to sell (or leak when hacked). If, for example, I bought such a device for my kid's car, I would expect that the information it sends (including any unique identifier like a serial number in the equipment) is sent encrypted by my public key to the cloud service along with an unencrypted number representing ME (so that it can route to me in their system). I would have an application on my computer, tablet, etc. into which I could put my private key / certificate. It would download the encrypted information and decrypt it locally. Anything less - nope! No sale. If they are able to do alerts and geo fencing - it is clear that they get the information on location unecrypted and can access it. I would not want to get such a system...
      • by tibit (1762298)

        You do realize, I hope, that, like, half of the words you have used in your post wouldn't even be understood by the people this will be marketed to? Yeah, sure as heck I'd like it to be designed the way you describe. Care for starting a Kickstarter campaign for such a product? Because I'm up. LoJack is a seriously shady outfit, as far as I'm concerned they'll be selling the data to guys who want to stalk teenage girls.

      • by Ol Olsoc (1175323)

        If it was designed properly, they would not HAVE any information to sell (or leak when hacked).

        Well then how the hell are they going to sell your info then. Sheesh! you are the product. Now get out there and buy shit.

        If it can be collected, it will. And if it can be monetized, well duh!

    • by citizenr (871508)

      USA is a stakeholder.

  • by teebob21 (947095) on Monday November 25, 2013 @06:19PM (#45519643) Journal

    Why is this news? Is it just the consumer commoditization of what businesses have been doing for years? Vehicles + GPS + Web Interface = Big Brother? Whoopee.

    I've been supporting deployments of vehicle GPS, geofences, and automatic alerts for years. Maybe that why this article is so underwhelming.

    Also, it reads like an advertisement.

    • by aardvarkjoe (156801) on Monday November 25, 2013 @06:20PM (#45519665)

      Also, it reads like an advertisement.

      Not true. Advertisers typically proofread their text for blatant mistakes before publishing it.

    • It does read like an advertisement, but it is one that, as a parent, I want to read.

      I fully want this in the cars my kids drive in a few years. I recall very well my driving habits when I was 16, and they were terrible.

      If my kids don't want this, they can buy their own cars and pay their own insurance. If they want to drive my cars... well... :)

      Welcome to Daddy, "a.k.a. Big Brother". :)

      • by teebob21 (947095)

        It does read like an advertisement, but it is one that, as a parent, I want to read.

        Oh, I agree...I should have put some more positive spin on that assessment. I have nothing against vehicle owners installing GPS in said vehicles being used by others. It's paid the bills for me in the past.

        Hell, I even let them Big Brother on my car. Progressive Insurance customer here: I gladly signed up for Snapshot when it was available (and drove like a little old lady) for 45 days. Saved a permanent 14% on my annual premium without permanent monitoring.

        Is this news because it's LoJack, a household nam

        • by epyT-R (613989)

          Yet again here's another one completely ignoring the most likely future. Right now, for you, it wasn't mandatory. If enough people like you take the bait, it will become mandatory. Surely I don't have to explain this. Once it is mandatory, your rate will go back up to the previous (inflation adjusted) rate, and the monitor less plans will be outrageously expensive, or omitted altogether. Then we're all fucked by the soccer mom society.

          You want to put a gps in your car and track it? Fine, I don't care,

      • by penix1 (722987)

        If my kids don't want this, they can buy their own cars and pay their own insurance. If they want to drive my cars... well... :)

        you do know there is no way to distinguish who is driving your car right? You do realize this data will be sold to the highest bidder right? You do know that your driving habits will also be recorded and sold as well right? You do know that anything and everything on the internet is insecure and inherently dangerous to personal data right? You do know that the next step is to have

        • by geekoid (135745)

          wild speculation and pointless questions to get to a slippery slope fallacy, well done.

          • by epyT-R (613989)

            slippery slopes are not always fallacies, and judging by what's happened already in recent history, it's a very likely possibility.

      • by timeOday (582209)
        My beef here is the "cloud" aspect. I would only accept a device that I upload to my own computer at my own convenience.

        I really hate how the "push" aspect of connectedness has developed... see also the WWW, Digital Video Recorders, and the new generation of game consoles. I guess I was naiive about the Internet to think this window on the world would be one-way.

        • You mean, as opposed to the teenagers cell phone which is 24x7 connected to the cloud? :)

          The idea that we can be really private is over, unless you really want to ditch the web.

      • A major function of adolescence is forging a life apart from the parents' control.

        Parents can facilitate this by gradually relinquishing control in response to trustworthy behaviour on the part of the teen.
        The progression results in self-disciplining young adults who are independent, yet respect authority

        Parents can thwart the burgeoning independence of their adolescent children by attempting to control and monitor their offspring's behaviour, even when the adolescent has shown no tendency toward suspi
        • A major function of adolescence is forging a life apart from the parents' control.

          That is true, to a point... it is also a nice theory, but when it hits the real world (today, vs. another time in history), you have to modify it to fit the times.

          If my child is killed in a car accident because they were doing something stupid, then they didn't learn anything, now did they?

          Yes, they need some freedom and the ability to make some decisions, but they also are minors until they are 18 and they live under my roof, thus there are rules to be followed.

          If my 16 year old wants to move out,

          • by BVis (267028)

            If my child is killed in a car accident because they were doing something stupid, then they didn't learn anything, now did they?

            Children (especially teenagers) do stupid things. I certainly did my share. Doing stupid shit is part of growing up, and, unfortunately, sometimes the stupid shit prevents your growing up.

            Since teenagers tend to think they have it all figured out, they don't like to listen, it isn't nearly as much fun as goofing off and doing whatever they want.

            That's a failure of parenting. Par

      • by epyT-R (613989)

        Great, so they never learn how to moderate their impulses/practice judgment skills, or anything else required of a truly adult human. Your kids will add to the burgeoning population of adult age children who need a surveillance state in order to function at a subsistence level.

        So what happens when enough of you soccer-mom style safety-manic 'parents' lobby the state to mandate this? Then I'M forced into it too. Fuck you?

      • by mjwalshe (1680392)
        So change the legal driving age to 18
    • My boss tracking where I go with company-provided assets makes sense.

      Everybody's every move being tracked in the name of lower premiums or children safety is downright scary.

      • by DdJ (10790)

        Everybody's every move being tracked in the name of lower premiums or children safety is downright scary.

        What's worse: safe, conservative drivers opting in to this in order to prove that they're safe and get lower rates, or forcing safe drivers to subsidize the insurance of reckless drivers because the insurer has no way to distinguish between the two?

        (I think the answer depends on other factors, like privacy controls, consumer protection, and system security.)

      • by Culture20 (968837)

        Everybody's every move being tracked in the name of lower premiums

        is impossible because everyone can't get lower premiums. What will happen is some select people who opt in early get lower premiums, then eventually the tracking becomes part of any new policy without a discount. Some people will try to fight it, but with all the tracking stuff already being set up, "reasonable expectation" of privacy will be skewed for future courts.

        • I fully expect some insurers to only insure people who accept to be tracked. Their prices will be lower, because they'll be able to avoid paying more often (more careful drivers and/or arguments that you exceeded the limit by 2mph). Other companies respecting your privacy will likely have to raise premiums to offset this, lose customers, and up adopting it also to stay in business.

          5 years from now (if that long), it will be near-impossible to insure a car without being tracked 24/7.
          I fully expect politician

          • by tibit (1762298)

            Given that everywhere I ago almost everyone drives at least a couple miles above the speed limit, and that there are places I've been to where it's routine to drive 10-20mph over the limit, I think the arguments you cite are entirely reasonable.

            • by tibit (1762298)

              By reasonable I mean fuck yes I'd expect to argue as hell if they were hung up about me driving over the speed limit. I don't want to fucking get killed, mmkay?

      • by tibit (1762298)

        where I go with company-provided assets makes sense

        It's not anybody's business where I elope with my secretary, thank you very much.

        • If she's "company-provided" for eloping, the local pimp may want to break your boss's legs.
          it's hard out here for a pimp, when even companies intrude on their turf... he needs money for the rent.

      • by mjwx (966435)

        My boss tracking where I go with company-provided assets makes sense.

        Commercial systems already exist to do this, with far better fleet management than LoJack.

        But these are aimed at fleets, LoJack seem to be aiming this at consumers.

        Everybody's every move being tracked in the name of lower premiums

        Glad I live in one of those evil nations that regulates the insurance industry and makes this downright illegal.

  • you'll just "license" it from the insurance companies and gas stations...

  • by Anonymous Coward

    If there is data about you that is getting collected, the spooks are also going to get a copy.

  • Fuck off (Score:3, Informative)

    by Meditato (1613545) on Monday November 25, 2013 @06:29PM (#45519773)

    I co-founded a company that does this, and we have a number of competitors in the same space. Tons of people and companies do this.

    Do we get free Slashdot advertising too? No? Stop posting this shit and start posting news.

    • You can cry into your Cheerios about this if you have too, but you've got to know that LoJack has name recondition in the anti theft market. I'm sorry if your business is a competitor to them now, but you've got to know the market and who the competition is. They think there is opportunity here, so don't get upset, they've just confirmed that there seems to be money to be made. Man up and get going.

      Hopefully you can distinguish your self from the competition and make a go of it, but somehow you will need

      • by Meditato (1613545)

        "You can cry into your Cheerios"
        "so don't get upset"
        "Man up and get going."
        "stop crying about competition"

        Sorry kiddo, I remain unprovoked. But I do want to point out a few misconceptions you seem to be operating under.

        First of all, you seem to be under the mistaken impression that I am concerned about our competition. No, by pointing out that we have competitors, I'm saying that there were many such businesses before (and besides) LoJack. LoJack's technology and business model is nothing new, which begs th

        • by geekoid (135745)

          " LoJack has name recondition "
          So you question was answered.
          "Sorry kiddo, I remain unprovoked."
          You're response indicates otherwise.

          IT's not our fault you work for a no name copy of a recognized company.

          "that optimal competition yields optimal results. In other words, "better product beats worse product, so make a better product and you'll beat them!""
          No, that's not what optimal competition yields optimal results means at all.

          It's a story to an article about LoJack, not advertising.
          People talk about what co

        • by bobbied (2522392)

          Then complain to SlashDot directly if it's worth it. I don't see that it is for you old man.

          Unfair thing happen all the time and LoJack entering into your market able to throw resources into marketing and catch enough attention of SlashDot posters to get a article accepted may or may not be one of them. So if you *really* believe that this article was a plant or SlashDot was somehow complicit in advertising your competition over you, get used to the idea of folks not following the rules. I can tell you th

    • by epyT-R (613989)

      Seriously, I hope your company goes out of business along with your competition. It's people like you, looking to make quick bucks off creating this loss of freedom, and, effectively, property ownership, that are bringing about the surveillance society, one 'risk management assessment' at a time. It's like DRM for behavior. You, the insurance companies, and the state can all burn in the fiery pits of the hell you're building for the rest of us. Take that soccer mom safety mania you help breed in the pop

      • by Meditato (1613545)

        At no point is surveillance involuntary on the parts of our clients, or their clients. Also, our main clients are not insurance companies, and this is generally true of most of the telematics industry. And with the exception of insurance on utility vehicles, there are still ethical, legal, and practical limits to deploying for all the clients of a whole insurance company.

        This LoJack thing is advertisement. Relax.

  • >> LoJack To Release Tracking Devices For Consumers, Insurance, and Auto Makers

    What's it called, a "cell phone"?

  • And the following year, manufacturers plan to come out with a device which takes the place of a child's eye, which will allow fretful parents to know about all the sodomizing and whoring that their teenage sons and daughters are up to. In lurid, decadent details.

  • by bobbied (2522392) on Monday November 25, 2013 @06:51PM (#45520035)

    Now I'm not sure how this is different from "On Star" but it sure seems to be *exactly* the same kind of thing they've been doing for a decade. Tie some cell phone to a computer and a GPS receiver attached to the communications buss in the car and there is a load of things you can do. Problem with LoJack is that if they are forced to go though the ODB-2 connector, they will have limited access to your car to do what they've done in the past that brought them to almost a household name. You might be able to shut down an engine through the OBD-2 connector, but that's likely going to require manufacturer specific software and possibly custom hardware to make happen.

    Where I get why a manufacturer might want to offer a system like this, I really don't see a huge market for it. OnStar never really took off as a money maker even on the GM cars it was offered with. The effort to push OnStar as an after market add in to your car option has been less than stellar. Keeping up with your teens as they drive around is NOT hard using their smart phone, and you need to add the "don't text when moving" app anyway so load a tracking app too.

    Now I don't have a kid who is trying to hide things from me in the first place, so she's not out turning off her phone or unloading the tracking app. She's a really cautious driver (actually too cautious at times) so I don't worry that she's out racing my car, but if I did, there are inexpensive ODB-2 recorders out there which are readily available and cheap, plus the sector of taking the keys away, at least while they live under my roof and drive my cars. Your mileage may vary, but I think LoJack is gona loose their shirt on this one.

    • Now I don't have a kid who is trying to hide things from me in the first place, so she's not out turning off her phone or unloading the tracking app. She's a really cautious driver (actually too cautious at times) so I don't worry that she's out racing my car, but if I did, there are inexpensive ODB-2 recorders out there which are readily available and cheap, plus the sector of taking the keys away, at least while they live under my roof and drive my cars. Your mileage may vary, but I think LoJack is gona loose their shirt on this one.

      It makes me a little sad that I will be able to tell my grandchildren how much fun it was to be a teenager at one time.

      How do you teach personal responsibility when you are always being watched and judged?

  • by TechyImmigrant (175943) on Monday November 25, 2013 @06:51PM (#45520037) Journal

    I'm going to have to build an OBD ii dongle to site between the dongle and the car, projecting and image of a perfect driver. It'll sell like hotcakes.

  • Here is the thing with lojack. There is no real way to know it is working. I have it installed, and really it seems like a waste of moneyu as there is not feedback on functionality. I could waste another $100 dollars every year. Now, in one of my cars I can pay $300 a year for telematics, and this at least has some benifits. I can know it is working because at any time I can look up the car at anytime, and even unlock doors and such. It sounds like this is what Lojack is trying to do, but really, they
    • by tibit (1762298)

      I've had a brush with LoJack-originated technology, and everything about it appeared super-shady. These days I use Orbicule Undercover. No subscription and you can verify the functionality anytime. Yes, it's not tied into the BIOS, but for your typical thief it'll be an effective countermeasure.

  • LoJack to release tracking devices for consumers, insurance and auto makers.

    Who, besides the NSA, would want to track consumers, insurance and automakers? OK, the feds need to keep an eye on GM, but really.

    • Uh automakers already do that. Most modern cars come with a black box that records telemetry. Its really nothing too new.
      • by Lumpy (12016)

        No they dont. The ECM may record the last few seconds but there is no special "black box" that spies on you.

        Granted my education on cars is limited to ECM and BCM hacking as well as CANBUS reverse engineering..... so I might be wrong, but I highly doubt it as I have NEVER found a blackbox in any car that I have worked on. granted it's only been about 22 different cars and models ranging from 2007 to 2013 and the data saved in the ECM is very limited. Just throttle position, brake pedal activation, and

  • The company said it has no plans to sell any information collected through a cloud service connected to the devices

    Translation: "We have no plans but reserve the right to change our minds shortly after you instal our device."

  • Expect every rental car to come with this factory-installed. Not only can the company track it's cars, but they can combine the customer's driving pattern with their profile and sell it. Frequent travellers/renters would be an obvious target, but everyone could be included if it's done cheaply enough. And in real-time, too.

  • It's called AT&T family tracking. I know right where all the phones are. and it costs a LOT less than the lojack junk.

    • by epyT-R (613989)

      That's lovely.. Indoctrinating your kids into the radiant socialist future early eh? you know, so you can feel soccer mom safe (tm)?

      • by Lumpy (12016)

        No, the dog shock collars are for that. Far easier to get a Pavlovian response that way.

  • by GumphMaster (772693) on Monday November 25, 2013 @08:02PM (#45520709)

    The company said it has no plans to sell any information collected through a cloud service connected to the devices, but to only share it with stakeholders

    They are not going to do this for the insurance companies out of the goodness of their hearts. So the stated business model is do precisely what they claim not to do, selling information gathered this way to "stakeholders."

    Governments, police forces and the NSA are stakeholders too (whether or not LoJack want them to be). How long before the location data is married to traffic light changes resulting in infringements issued on the basis that your car passed a red light: no camera deployments required and no defence. Or speed information and speeding infringements... Or proximity to an unrelated crime... Or the location of political opponents... Or journalists... Or whistleblowers... Ubiquitous tracking will be abused.

    • infringements issued on the basis that your car passed a red light: no camera deployments required and no defence.

      GPS isn't accurate enough for that... otherwise we wouldn't be going to the expense of building a wide area augmentation system to provide good enough GPS for Cat I autolanding...

  • Any kid of mine would be expected to disconnect, disable, spoof, cloak, or otherwise render useless any such device. I'd be disappointed in a child who did not at least make a good try at doing so, and even more disappointed if they actually followed the restrictions.

  • LoJack To Release Tracking Devices For Consumers

    How do you stick it on 'em without them noticing?

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