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Businesses Transportation Technology

The Car of the Future Will Sell Your Data (bloomberg.com) 241

Picture this: You're driving home from work, contemplating what to make for dinner, and as you idle at a red light near your neighborhood pizzeria, an ad offering $5 off a pepperoni pie pops up on your dashboard screen. Are you annoyed that your car's trying to sell you something, or pleasantly persuaded? From a report: Telenav, a company developing in-car advertising software, is betting you won't mind much. Car companies -- looking to earn some extra money -- hope so, too. Automakers have been installing wireless connections in vehicles and collecting data for decades. But the sheer volume of software and sensors in new vehicles, combined with artificial intelligence that can sift through data at ever-quickening speeds, means new services and revenue streams are quickly emerging. The big question for automakers now is whether they can profit off all the driver data they're capable of collecting without alienating consumers or risking backlash from Washington. "Carmakers recognize they're fighting a war over customer data," said Roger Lanctot, who works with automakers on data monetization as a consultant for Strategy Analytics. "Your driving behavior, location, has monetary value, not unlike your search activity."
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The Car of the Future Will Sell Your Data

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  • by The123king ( 2395060 ) on Wednesday February 21, 2018 @10:03AM (#56162973)
    But here in the UK we have strict regulations on distractions whilst driving. That's the same reason the billboard isn't a thing here in the UK.
    • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 ) <mojo@wo[ ]3.net ['rld' in gap]> on Wednesday February 21, 2018 @10:37AM (#56163139) Homepage Journal

      We have billboards by the road in the UK, lots of them.

      However, a pop-up ad in the car is probably illegal. At least, the very first person with one of these cars to claim that the ad distracted them will quickly put and end to the practice.

      • by Alioth ( 221270 ) <no@spam> on Wednesday February 21, 2018 @10:43AM (#56163155) Journal

        GDPR should be a fairly healthy deterrent to anyone implementing anything like this (that is, if the UK doesn't throw it in the bonfire of EU regulation after 2019).

      • by cayenne8 ( 626475 ) on Wednesday February 21, 2018 @11:20AM (#56163363) Homepage Journal

        At least, the very first person with one of these cars to claim that the ad distracted them will quickly put and end to the practice.

        Not that I'm for the ads in any way...BUT, if you in the UK are so distracted by a simple ad, how in the hell do you drive while fiddling with the radio/stereo, smoke a cigarette, keep the cold beer between your legs and try to talk on the phone???

        I mean, hell...that's the new basic driving test here for men in the US.

        The ones for ladies substitute the beer holding for putting on makeup i the car....

        But hey, its easier than it used to be when you had to do all that AND shirt the manual transmission. I'm old school and still do that, but most today don't have to pass that qualification.

        • by Cederic ( 9623 ) on Wednesday February 21, 2018 @01:38PM (#56164425) Journal

          The ones for ladies substitute the beer holding for putting on makeup i the car....

          I guess that's because of their innate advantage due to the built in beer bottle holder?

          if you in the UK are so distracted by a simple ad, how in the hell do you drive while fiddling with [everything]

          Driving while distracted will already get you spanked. It's reasonable to assume that something explicitly intended to distract you will not be looked on kindly by the powers that be.

      • by plopez ( 54068 )

        Or even better, ads in your social media feeds. Drive past chain restaurants. Lo and Behold! Coupons appear in you social media feeds!

    • by Higaran ( 835598 )
      Yes, but the cars that have this will most likely be self driving, so the distraction thing will not be an issue.
  • So now ad blockers and no script will be needed for a new car?
    The more a car networks and spies on its users, the more car privacy tools will be needed.
    Recall unsafe at any speed?
    The car brand will be unsafe on any network. The Designed-In Data Trade of the Networked American Automobile
    • And if the car detects an ad blocker, will it shut the car off? Will the ignition system be using a script that you have to have enabled?
    • Ad blocker? Why not just a sheet of black card over the screen and the volume turned off?

      Or even easier: ignore it. People are exposed to so many advertisements now (like we are exposed to germs) that I would expect most of us are simply immune to them.

  • by sinij ( 911942 ) on Wednesday February 21, 2018 @10:11AM (#56163003)
    This in car advertising feature will be non-starer for me. I will avoid buying cars equipped with one, if all cars go this way I will pull the fuse on infotaiment system.

    One aspect people fail to consider is that if your car reports your location to advertisers, it also can be compelled to report your location to law enforcement, creditors, lawyers.
    • by The123king ( 2395060 ) on Wednesday February 21, 2018 @10:15AM (#56163029)
      Good luck, the infotainment system will most likely be tied into the EMC
    • Good luck (Score:5, Informative)

      by sjbe ( 173966 ) on Wednesday February 21, 2018 @10:33AM (#56163123)

      I will avoid buying cars equipped with one, if all cars go this way I will pull the fuse on infotaiment system.

      Which in all likelihood will result in a car that does not start. I work with these sorts of system in my day job because my company provides wiring for them. These are (generally speaking) not well designed modular systems that can be easily disabled piecemeal. Car companies have virtually zero concept of modularity or security and all the systems tend to be tied into all the others WAY too closely. CAN bus [wikipedia.org] is a hot mess. The way wiring is done in most vehicles would make the head of most slashdot readers explode with rage. It's the most scatterbrained ad-hoc thing you can imagine.

      We just did a set of harnesses for a vehicle being prototyped right now and the notion that you could disable the infotainment system on that vehicle with no further problems is laughable. You'd basically have to reprogram the whole thing and possibly replace a lot of the ECUs [wikipedia.org] which for all practical purposes would be nigh impossible.

      One aspect people fail to consider is that if your car reports your location to advertisers, it also can be compelled to report your location to law enforcement, creditors, lawyers.

      Yep. Scary ain't it?

      • by Miser ( 36591 )

        Two words: chip tuners

        If there's anything on my car(s) I don't want, my guess is my local to me chip tuner will have a way around it.

        I usually drive my cars till the wheels fall off anyway, so that removes the "what if you sell it" argument.

    • by Nidi62 ( 1525137 )

      This in car advertising feature will be non-starer for me. I will avoid buying cars equipped with one, if all cars go this way I will pull the fuse on infotaiment system. One aspect people fail to consider is that if your car reports your location to advertisers, it also can be compelled to report your location to law enforcement, creditors, lawyers.

      I'm sure you could probably pay a several thousand dollar premium for the "add free" model. Really, it's most likely that this kind of thing would, at least initially, be used on lower end cars to subsidize the price. Higher end cars like Tesla, BMW, Mercedes, etc won't install this as it would tarnish their brand image. But looking for a cheap little 4 cylinder commuter car? Be ready for ads.

  • Bad example (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MitchDev ( 2526834 ) on Wednesday February 21, 2018 @10:12AM (#56163011)

    THe time for the pizza coupon is 15-20 minutes out from the pizza shop so you can order on your cell/smart phone and then pick it up rather than pulling over, ordering, and then sitting and waiting for the pizza.

    Altho personally I find all this advertising abhorrent and am sick to death of constanly being advertised to. I tend to take the more annoying ads as as example of who NOT to do business with.

  • Everything (Score:4, Informative)

    by campuscodi ( 4234297 ) on Wednesday February 21, 2018 @10:13AM (#56163015)
    Everything in the future will sell your data. All companies are already looking at user data as cash cows. Chuck in a few lines in the ToS and you're good to go selling customers' data.
    • by AHuxley ( 892839 )
      Everything will have an ad blocker, a no script to port your data. Users will code in a few lines and the big brands get nothing.
      The users then remember the brands who tried to track and push ads onto them.
    • Soon I expect the size and cost of cellular circuits to be so small and low that even our junk mail will not only have tracking, but also have active audio recording.

      The cost of executing an instruction is exponentially going to zero.
  • Oh, hell no! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by cvdwl ( 642180 ) <cvdwl someplace around yahoo> on Wednesday February 21, 2018 @10:18AM (#56163051)
    Can we please just keep making cars that have NO built-in screens? If and when I need a navigator, I'll mount my phone, but I generally don't need a bright glowing rectangle blowing out my night vision.
    • Can we please just keep making cars that have NO built-in screens?

      Short answer? Probably not. Not in the long run anyway. The cost savings from doing as much as possible with a touch screen are probably going to overwhelm any other options not required by law. This despite the fact that touch screens are a terrible interface for many things.

      If and when I need a navigator, I'll mount my phone, but I generally don't need a bright glowing rectangle blowing out my night vision.

      Since that doesn't really happen I'm not sure what your complaint there is. I can turn the screen off in my truck if I want to but even when it is on it isn't all that bright unless I want it to be.

    • Can we please just keep making cars that have NO built-in screens? If and when I need a navigator, I'll mount my phone, but I generally don't need a bright glowing rectangle blowing out my night vision.

      Just got a new one last year ... no screen.

      If there's a market, they should stay available. Keep buying them that way. Keep telling the dealers and anyone who will listen why you have that preference.

    • by enjar ( 249223 )
      My current car's instrument panel and infotainment are both screens and have the same ability to be dimmed/brightened in the same manner as the instrument panels of previous vehicles. Just as the mechanical speedo/tach/oil pressure/coolant temp/volts/boost gauges were replaced by a wire and got much better (no more lubing up the cable to keep the speedo needle from jumping around), I can't imagine auto manufacturers are going to go back from using screens (touch or not). You can do a lot more with a screen
      • Acuras since 2014 have a separate dimming setting for the screen than the rest of the console. This lets me make it significantly dimmer than the rest of the console.

        Though, I miss the color change of my RSX. In the day it light up white to be seen, at night it lit up red so it doesn't fuck up night vision. Newer ones do the same color but dim, and it isn't as pleasant.

    • just keep making cars that have NO built-in screens

      Keep making cars? I don't think you know what that phrase means. It typically implies that we are currently making cars without built in screens.

      • just keep making cars that have NO built-in screens

        Keep making cars? I don't think you know what that phrase means. It typically implies that we are currently making cars without built in screens.

        We are; I bought one new last year without a screen.

    • Sorry, but the requirement for back-up cameras that goes into effect next year will also mean that all cars will have a screen. All cars, light trucks, SUVs, etc built after May 1 of this year must have them.
  • by enjar ( 249223 ) on Wednesday February 21, 2018 @10:22AM (#56163075) Homepage
    When I was a kid it seemed like it had so much promise. Nowadays it's just pretty much advertising.
    • ...I will not drive. Or at least not own. I'll take public transit, a taxi or some "ride-sharing" (stupid name) service, walk, or cycle. In cases that I really need to drive, I'll rent or use a car-sharing service, which will rather limit the amount of data that can be collected from me in that context.

      Note to car manufacturers: sell me a car that drives from point A to point B efficiently. Make a profit doing that. If you can't, then gtfo.

    • Seriously, what did you think were all those coloured lights in Blade Runner?

    • by Nidi62 ( 1525137 )

      When I was a kid it seemed like it had so much promise. Nowadays it's just pretty much advertising.

      One the bright side, it seems like we are one step closer to Futurama. If we get spaceships and robots and an amusement park on the Moon, it might be worth putting up with the ads in your dreams or the suicide booths.

      And don't forget hypnotoad! All glory to the hypnotoad!

    • I always imagined in the future, we'd have sweet mechs. We've gone down the dark path of automated robots that will follow us with ads.
      • by enjar ( 249223 )
        The Zentradi will be repelled by Lockeed-Martin Gundams powered by Monster Energy Drink, live streaming will be powered by GoPro and YouTube, and the pilots will be fueled by RedBull. Protoculture will be refined by ExxonMobil developed in partnership GMO Flower of Life modified and patented by Monsanto. Minmei will have a special presentation exclusively on Apple Music, and all hair gel and color is provided by the Revlon, the official grooming partner of the United Earth Forces.
  • by DogDude ( 805747 ) on Wednesday February 21, 2018 @10:37AM (#56163141)
    If you're using a Google or an Apple product, you are already giving away all of your data anyway. Gmail users give it away to save $2/month on real email. Apple users give it away for shiny shiny marketing. Facebook users give it away for god knows what. 99.99% of all people, at least in the US, have already voluntarily given one of these three big companies all of their information, anyway. It's all over. People are too fucking stupid and/or lazy.
    • My guess is even if you pay the Google privacy ransom, they will sell your info anyhow since they can claim they collected it through non-gmail means.

  • The car of the future will drive by itself while I'll have my AR-Goggles and my headphones on, so they can show whatever the fuck they want.

  • Waze (Score:3, Informative)

    by Big Nemo '60 ( 749108 ) on Wednesday February 21, 2018 @10:52AM (#56163205) Journal

    Waze has been doing this for some time, but only when I stop at red lights. As soon as I move the ad goes away.

    I guess automakers would like a slice of the pie. I only wish they would be as self-constrained...

    • by Cederic ( 9623 )

      Really? The one time it's safe for you to look at the map, get an idea of the road and any turnings ahead, so that you can focus on actually driving when moving, and they obscure it with a fucking ad?

      This doesn't entice me to try it out.

    • Waze is basically designed to facilitate distracted driving. by encouraging people to click on shit while driving. Showing ads is just an extension of this purpose.

  • by ripvlan ( 2609033 ) on Wednesday February 21, 2018 @10:52AM (#56163207)

    I see more and more of this coming up in the industry and it opens a question for me - who owns the car?

    It may make a difference if the car is leased. But thinking about how Tesla batteries software limited capacity/range - if I buy the car with a giant battery in it cannot I not defeat that?

    Or is it like Sat radio - where I have to have a subscription to continue using it? Is the "fuel" in my car available only through subscription? What prevents me from strapping a bigger battery to my roof and plugging it in through the charge-port (ala battery packs for cell phones).

    So the car manufacture is going to install advertising software in my car? And may I defeat it or otherwise alter the vehicle as I see fit. And perform repairs on it too!!!

    • I see more and more of this coming up in the industry and it opens a question for me - who owns the car?

      It may make a difference if the car is leased. But thinking about how Tesla batteries software limited capacity/range - if I buy the car with a giant battery in it cannot I not defeat that?

      Or is it like Sat radio - where I have to have a subscription to continue using it? Is the "fuel" in my car available only through subscription? What prevents me from strapping a bigger battery to my roof and plugging it in through the charge-port (ala battery packs for cell phones).

      So the car manufacture is going to install advertising software in my car? And may I defeat it or otherwise alter the vehicle as I see fit. And perform repairs on it too!!!

      Leases/rentals are probably different as you say. I think there's plenty of case law on the books saying you can do whatever the heck you want with your own car. I don't see the difference in adding an engine modification to a gas car or adding the battery pack you talk about. In the case of the artificial battery limiter I would liken it to the existing performance limiters built into gas cars today. They exist in the electronic control unit computer and are easy to change with some plug-in parts from a

    • cannot I not defeat that?

      I am honestly not sure.

  • If I ever buy this car I will have to kick my own ass. It's the right thing to do.
  • by magzteel ( 5013587 ) on Wednesday February 21, 2018 @11:15AM (#56163333)

    284,000 miles and still going strong.

    It will not be possible to just disable the display. Cars already come with a single display that integrates many functions like GPS, climate control, entertainment, maintenance. No way to just shut it off.

  • to 40 years of declining wages. My 1994 Accord is completely untraceable. Even if you bolt something onto it the constant vibrations from the knocking engine and iffy transmission are just going to make it fall off.
  • Given sticker price of vehicles I can't imagine it taking all that much more than a few people walking off the lot in disgust before dealers demanded change.

  • No thanks (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Xarius ( 691264 ) on Wednesday February 21, 2018 @11:48AM (#56163499) Homepage

    This sort of crap is exactly why 1. I'm really glad that legislation like the GDPR in the EU [eugdpr.org] is coming along to begin to allow us to take control of our data. Might not be perfect but a good start. As I read it, this wouldn't be allowed without explicit consent between the owner of the car and whatever advertising company ran this (burying it in an EULA doesn't count)

    but simultaneously I'm 2. really annoyed that my dipshit government and uninformed co-citizens voted to take my country out of the EU :-( at least we'll get a few years of the GDPR to see how that works out.

  • They Do Already (Score:4, Informative)

    by Luthair ( 847766 ) on Wednesday February 21, 2018 @11:57AM (#56163543)
    And we discussed it a month ago [slashdot.org]. Onstar in fact has been doing this for a decade even if you aren't a subscriber.
  • Fuck them fuck them and fuck them some more. That shit has no right to be there distracting and killing people. And the privacy issues are 10 times worse than browsing. Even the government might have enough sense to block this shit.

  • by Holi ( 250190 )
    I would drive right to the dealer and return it.
  • I was born a free citizen.

    Then I was a consumer.

    Today, I'm a product. [1]

    [1] And somehow, a bad guy now by default of my demographics. Perhaps that makes me a better product, or, more likely, it makes other products more valuable to the "store" selling them.

  • This is the level of ethics that advertisers have. Block them all the time, everywhere. They are absolute scum.

    If a site fails to make ad revenue, it is not my problem, blame the scamming scum advertisers.

    We even helped block them in real life in my city. A new zoning regulation bans all light up LED billboards.

  • Not worried yet... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by CohibaVancouver ( 864662 ) on Wednesday February 21, 2018 @12:41PM (#56163883)
    Here's why I remain skeptical about conspiracies around this:

    I've been an active Facebook user since 2010. I probably post 2 or 3 times per day. Facebook knows where I live, what I like, how old I am, who my friends are, what my politics are, what TV shows and movies I like, where I've travelled, what airlines I fly... On and on.

    I don't run ad blockers.

    Nevertheless, in eight years, other than the odd T-Shirt company, Facebook has never once served up an ad for something I'm interested in. Never. Once. They have no clue. All they do is serve up ads for things I've already searched elsewhere, like Timberland shoes or random nonsense they think a 50-year-old male might be interested in.

    My Android phone knows everywhere I go. Again, nothing I'm interested in. Nothing.

    Ditto Twitter.

    I'm not going to stress about this until one day I truly have a Keanu "whoa" moment. And that hasn't happened yet...
    • That Keanu moment was when I got ads for products on a device that had no known linkages (wife's ipad with only her account on it) to the one I had actually had done a search from. The ability to track me for ad purposes is amazingly aggressive and persistent. I find that creepy as hell.

      How would you feel if a clerk at the local supermarket randomly walked up and addressed you by your full name and asked if they could help you find an oddly specific and correct product? I'd probably grab tin foil and run

    • If you use Facebook on mobile (not the app, just the website), you will get advertisements on pretty much any product you have viewed on Amazon or done a google search for.

      Though, they must not get info on what I have purchased, because most of the ads are for things I already bought.

      No idea if it does this on a computer browser, though, for obvious reasons.

  • I really despise aggressive marketing. If Telenav is betting that carowners wouldn't object, they are very very wrong. I eliminated cable TV and broadcast radio since 2000 because the advertising was getting more and more intrusive. I stopped purchasing fuel at gas stations where the screens on the pumps are blasting advertisements at loud volume. I stopped visiting websites with highly intrusive ads. The last thing I want in my car is a damn billboard on my dashboard.
  • There's no way in hell I'd tolerate any of this shit in any vehicle I owned.
    o Radio
    o Climate control
    o Maybe electric door locks and electric windows
    o Intermittent wipers
    o Cruise control
    o Preferably a light pickup truck, with a stick-shift
    That's all I need in a vehicle. It's transportation, not a lifestyle choice.
    Maybe if more people stopped thinking of it as a lifestyle choice and more like transportation, paid attention to the road and being a decent driver, we wouldn't have many of the problems w
  • Free! Just sign this agreement allowing all your information to be harvested and sold.

  • ...How can you sell MY data when I haven't driven since 1993? And you kids wonder why I don't own a car.

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