By on November 3, 2010

Automotive News [sub] hasn’t received the memo that EVs need good news, badly. Instead, AN hammers the last nail into the electric vehicle’s coffin. If range anxiety, the lack of 220V outlets at your curbside parking spot, and high prices aren’t enough to keep you away from an electric car, how about “an Orwellian future where faceless international corporations track your every move. Drop by the bar after work, call in sick to go to the beach, visit your mistress’ house. The all-seeing eye of Big Brother knows where you’ve been.”

That’s what will happen when you drive an EV, says Automotive News [EN]. Your green friend will snitch on you. 24/7. The car will be ”continuously connected through the wireless Internet to data centers monitoring the car’s location, battery charge and driving range.” Why? It’s for your own good:

“By using such advanced telematics, drivers can locate nearby charging stations, know how far they can drive before draining the battery, monitor traffic to take less crowded routes, assess their driving habits to improve mileage and compare their mileage with that of other electric car drivers.”

TTAC readers know since the beginning of the year that this is afoot. Nissan is opening a huge earthquake proof data center, along with the launch of their Leaf. They need a lot of storage, because according to AN, Nissan’s “CarWings telematics system will retain historical driving, charging and electricity consumption information globally.”

Toyota will even snoop further. They will invade you house! Says Automotive News: “Toyota envisions a similar scenario with so-called “smart homes” connected to plug-in hybrids. This system would not only monitor driving but also home energy habits.” So no grow lights in the basement, you hear? Automotive News hammers a few more nails into the coffin:

  • “Securing this wealth of private information will be a key trust issue in promoting a future that makes the most of electric vehicles’ potential. “
  • “Imagine the potential for summoning such records in lawsuits.”
  • “If personal privacy is botched, electric vehicles could end up more like tracking devices.”

Personally, I think EVs have no great future. Hence, their impact on your privacy will remain subdued. And privacy, what privacy? OnStar already knows that you visited your mistress, or parked for hours in front of a strip club. You credit card company will vouch(er) for it. Your cell phone provider has a very good idea of where you are at any given time, even without GPS. Your friendly electric utility knows how much power you use, and they won’t keep it a secret. “When electric companies notice unreasonably high power usages or patterns of use that fall in line with grow house light cycles, they go straight to the authorities,” explains Howstuffworks. For a few dollars, I can match your P.O.Box to your home address. Electronically stalking you is creepy, agreed. But it falls in the realm of general creepiness.

Nothing new. Move along. And take that battery out of your cell phone.

Get the latest TTAC e-Newsletter!

50 Comments on “Got A Mistress? Don’t Buy That EV!...”


  • avatar
    bunkie

    First of all, that graphic is in exceptionally poor taste.

    Second, I agree that if you think that you motor through life in a anonymous fashion right now, you’re sadly mistaken. The solution, of course, is to enact laws limiting access to this information and reinforcing the notion that the gathering of personal data by the police (and other authorities) requires some sort of court order.

    • 0 avatar
      carguy

      +1 Most of this can already be done. The real key here is legality and not technology which is why we need to update our privacy laws.

    • 0 avatar
      psarhjinian

      It’s not so much poor taste, but it is true that the future is more Max Headroom/Minority Report than 1984.
       
      And yes, corporations already mine this, and often do so without any legal restriction.

    • 0 avatar
      Advance_92

      You can track people by phone, gas receipts, even the bar tabs if they use credit cards.  And that’s not even considering OnStar or GPS.
      This whole article is so silly I can’t believe it was even relayed on here unless someone had a cool ‘bad Obama’ picture they were looking to spread. At least it looks a bit more professional than the baseball cap last week.

    • 0 avatar
      Daanii2

      First of all, that graphic is in exceptionally poor taste.

      Why?

    • 0 avatar
      mpresley

      Very poor taste.  I agree 100 percent.  A classy site like TTAC should be able to afford a color picture of the Maobama as he spies on the rest of us.  And what’s up with those ears?  My god, he’s probably listening to us, too.

    • 0 avatar
      nonce

      This whole article is so silly I can’t believe it was even relayed on here

      You haven’t read much of the stuff submitted by The Newspaper, have you?  This is bargain-basement paranoia compared to that stuff.

    • 0 avatar
      DweezilSFV

      It’s only poor taste because they couldn’t work George Bush’s picture into that graphic, right? You’ll live

    • 0 avatar
      John Horner

      No kidding about the poor taste, not to mention misleading. By and large it isn’t big government which is tracking your every move, it is big business! The irony of this picture being posted by an author who makes his living in China is just too rich. There the government really is watching you, not to mention carefully choosing what you may and may not see on the Internet.

    • 0 avatar
      Daanii2

      I’m missing something here. What’s in poor taste, even exceptionally poor taste, about that graphic? I hate to be dense, but can someone explain it to me?

    • 0 avatar
      rpn453

      By and large it isn’t big government which is tracking your every move, it is big business!
       
      Wait, are you saying there’s a difference now?  They used to share the same owners.

    • 0 avatar

      It’s in poor taste because an otherwise neutral discussion about big business going “Big Brother” on EV owners just received a heaping dose of partisan politics.  Yes, we know you don’t like Obama.  Point made, point taken, change the graphic to something less politically charged.  Thanks.

    • 0 avatar
      windswords

      Whiners. After enduring posts and pictures comparing President Bush to Hitler, this is kindergarten stuff. I don’t remember much left wing outcry about that. Since BO is the Head of State and this is about the potential of the State to “watch” you, it’s appropriate. Get over it. If it makes you feel better just imagine it John Boehner’s face in the graphic. He’s the new evil/nazi/extremist/corporatist/animal hater/bigot/racist enemy right?

    • 0 avatar
      windswords

      If you think this is more about big corp. than big government then in your mind substitute an image of Steve Jobs or Bill Gates (after all they are the technological enablers of this). Besides, I always thought Bill looked suspicious.

    • 0 avatar
      psarhjinian

      I’d say Mark Zuckerberg, Sergei Brin or Larry Page would be better poster children for the End Of Privacy As We Know It.

    • 0 avatar
      nonce

      Don’t forget Steve Jobs.

    • 0 avatar
      nonce

      After enduring posts and pictures comparing President Bush to Hitler, this is kindergarten stuff. I don’t remember much left wing outcry about that.

      Believe it or not, some people who thought that the “BusHitler” stuff was — at best — in poor taste don’t like this either.

    • 0 avatar
      Daanii2

      I’m bothered by banks. I recently had to answer some “security questions” to access my bank account. The bank, which I just starting using two years ago, used as security questions some of my home addresses from 20 and 30 years ago.
       
      I assume the bank got those addresses from the credit rating companies. That banks can get all that private information about me (and of course much more financial information) so easily makes me mad and concerned.
       
      I shudder when I think of all my medical records becoming electronic. I can see some clearinghouse that collects all of that and reports it (for a fee) to those who inquire. No longer will the past bury anything.

  • avatar
    redmondjp

    I’m not in favor of the tracking aspect of this at all.  But there are good ideas in here regarding communication between the EV, it’s charger, and the electrical grid.  Alan Cocconi (IIRC) proposed many years ago using grid-connected EVs as distributed energy sources to supply power at times of peak demand (peak load shaving).  It’s a good idea.

    Say that it’s 4pm and your EV is plugged in at work with the battery pack fully charged.  Say that you’ve got 100 miles of range in the pack (the 2nd-gen battery packs on the EV-1s easily had this) but you only need 20 to get home.  Then say that you can program your EV charge controller to allow 50 miles of range worth of energy (giving you 30 miles of buffer in case you want to make some shopping stops on the way home) to be removed (giving you $ credits of course) before you unplug from the grid and drive home at 5pm.

    Then, you reconnect to the grid once returning to home.  Now, EV charger and grid communicate some more, and EV pack recharging commences after midnight, when grid has excess generating capacity as well as lowest energy cost, fully recharging the pack while you sleep.

    The smart grid is coming.  Some of the snooping aspects of it I don’t like.  But OTOH, there are positive benefits that can allow us to use our existing energy infrastructure more efficiently.  If we can figure out how to even out our energy demand over the 24-hour period, we will avoid having to build some (but not all) new power plants.

    • 0 avatar
      bunkie

      Data can be obfuscated to hide personal information without losing its value from a grid management perspective. Until recently I worked for a Swiss bank (I’m an IT professional) and we did this time while doing development work. Again, this is about making the laws work for us and, I might add, preserving the notion of respect for the rule of law which is something that politicians of both parties would be well advised to remember.

  • avatar
    dswilly

    Fortunately my fleet is usually about ten years behind + in technology. Try tracking me in my ’82 Toyota truck……….

    • 0 avatar
      bunkie

      To really protect yourself, replace all the steel and iron in the truck with aluminum foil. That will defeat that pesky magnetic GPS tracker that the police love so much…

  • avatar
    M 1

    Not especially different than the potential for abuse of OnStar and similar systems with less-recognizable branding.

    • 0 avatar
      redmondjp

      And regarding Onstar, I discovered a couple of years ago that the Feds have already used Onstar (w/o court order, BTW) to listen to in-car conversations (uses the hands-free cell phone built into the car) of people in an Onstar-equipped vehicle (who may not have even had an Onstar subscription).  Very scary stuff.

      If you don’t want people knowing where you are and listening to you in your car, and you don’t use Onstar, it’s simple:  snip the wire going from the Onstar unit to the antenna.  Problem solved!  Now of course, since we have further integrated these functions into modern vehicles’ electronic systems, you will also lose your built-in NAV functions and internet too.  Hmmm, what to do, what to do (I like the tinfoil hat idea).

    • 0 avatar
      asapuntz

      OnStar => GM => Gov’t => ScaryGraphic
       
      Why elected officials are scarier than barely-accountable corporations is beyond me. I guess I can just avoid the corporations, as long as i don’t buy anything or go anywhere?
       

    • 0 avatar
      bikegoesbaa

      Why elected officials are scarier than barely-accountable corporations is beyond me.
       
      Theoretically no corporation can pull you out of your house at gunpoint and throw you in the slammer, but the government certainly can.

  • avatar
    chuckR

    We have always been at war with Eastasia. We don’t like Eurasia either.

  • avatar
    George B

    Disconnect the antennas from the car telematics hardware and it can’t do much.  Cell phones provide a better source of location information, but they are easier to disable by simply turning them off.
     
    I’m no fan of the president, but I agree that throwing his image into the article is a bad idea.  Larger threat of targeted in-car advertising and bundling of unwanted telematics services with car purchase than government use of location information.
     

    • 0 avatar
      thebeelzebubtrigger

      “Cell phones provide a better source of location information, but they are easier to disable by simply turning them off.”
      Many modern cell phones are not “off” unless you remove the battery. You can only turn off  user functionality, carrier functionality usually remains intact as long as the battery is present and charged.
       

  • avatar
    1996MEdition

    Tinfoil hats on in 1……2…….3!!!

  • avatar
    L'avventura

    EV telemetry should be the least of your privacy worries in the modern age.  As mentioned, OnStar already pushes the privacy envelope, its frequently used by the police and FBI, and even can tell if there is person in the passenger seat (via airbag detection)- your mistress should be scared..
     
    You guys even had an article on it:
    http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2008/02/onstar-big-brothers-eye-in-the-sky/
     
    Beyond that modern smartphones already hold a ton of information on you, if you are concerned about privacy, or hiding that mistress, the first place your wife, or a snooper, will look is your smartphone.  Better have a strong password, though it does nothing to stop Big Brother from listening in. There are so many more easier ways to get information then EV telematics data.

  • avatar
    V572625694

    Reminds me of the story about the woman who discovers a GPS device her husband has hidden on her car so he can track her movements. She puts it on somebody else’s car. Hilarity ensues. This won’t work with Big Brother Leaf. Or your rental car. Or your car w/On-Star (regardless of whether you buy the service or not.
    Privacy’s over; we might as well get used to it.

    • 0 avatar
      thesal

      “Privacy’s over, we might as well get used to it”

      Love that line…and once we all get past the teething pains, it will be a new “norm” to live by. Expect everything to be everyone’s knowledge. It could work, so long as there is equility in loss of privacy! (I’m thinking that’s the pipe dream part)

  • avatar
    jet_silver

    Now imagine you could track cars by their TPMS sensors:  http://blogs.insideline.com/straightline/2010/08/hax0red-rutgers-university-of-south-carolina-remotely-hack-tpms-sensors.html

  • avatar
    sfdennis1

    FAIL on the graphic, Schmitt, are cheap shots the best you can do?

    And while we’re making cheap shots, I can assure you that just about ANY Democrat doesn’t give a flying-f*ck whether you have a mistress, or an “extra-Mr.”, or whatever you do privately and consensually…than most Republicans, especially the ‘subset’ of the holier-than-thou Bible-thumping (usually cheating themselves) conservative teabagging/KKKristian variety.

    Neither corporate spying, nor the intrusion into personal privacies, nor the obsession with policing other’s private sex lives originated with President Obama. Again, a cheap shot.

    • 0 avatar
      gslippy

      Your crass stereotypes smell more like cheap shots than the use of an obviously comical graphic which communicates a fear people have had for decades.
       
      Here’s an equal-opportunity jab, if it’ll help you feel better: http://www.badtastetshirts.com/big_brother_is_watching.htm

    • 0 avatar
      Syke

      Actually any politician couldn’t care less if you’ve got a mistress. They’re not even worried about theirs – unless the information leaks out during an election year. At which point you’re talking national security crisis.

  • avatar
    golden2husky

    I wouldn’t worry about this so much…California’s courts have ruled that it is permissible for the police to trespass onto your property and place a tracking device on your vehicle without a court order.  Nice, huh?  America is going to crap in a hurry.  I would expect this to make its way to the Supreme Court, but no doubt the Roberts led “Scalito” gang will have no problem with this.  After all, if you are not doing anything wrong, you have nothing to worry about (deep sarcasm)…

  • avatar
    caljn

    With regard to big brother and the photo up top, it was George’s team that gave us the “patriot” act. 
    (oh lord,,,please keep us safe,,,please!)

  • avatar
    AaronH

    The weak and stupid envy-ridden brats and parasites will always love politicians even as the politicians murder them…It has been proven throughout history…You don’t have to watch Monty Python to figure that out. TV and public schools turn people into retarded government-worshiping psychopathic brats.

    It is OK for Reid and Pelosi to know where you are…Really!…It is!

  • avatar
    jetstar1

    I go to car websites, specifically to enjoy myself and avoid the political media fires.
     
    that photo is poor taste, and no i have no need for a tea bagging car blog.
     
    see you guys

  • avatar
    probert

    Cell phones are required to have gps positioning built in.
     
    Funny to hear complaints of future problems when – under Bush – the NSA, with the help of the aforementioned phone companies (not quest though)  - illegally spied on Americans.  Does anyone care – thought not.

    • 0 avatar
      chuckR

      So NSA, Echelon, Carnivore, those all started under Bush?
      I am concerned, and the solution is a smaller government with fewer powers. Its riskier vis a vis our real enemies, but those who trade freedom for security will end up with neither. The trick is figuring out what is essential and what should be forbidden to the government. In the 70′s, the German government was able to destroy radical factions like the Bader-Meinhof gang, but the people decided the price in the required level of surveillance was too high.
      So, back to the Bush bashing. If you think he started it and that you can only be saved by the Other Party, you haven’t been paying attention.
       

  • avatar
    MrBostn

    Guess my eyes failed me. I didn’t notice the graphic was of Obama. I read the text, barely looking at the face, and moved on to read the story.

  • avatar
    John Fritz

    I am absolutely baffled over the indignation expressed by so many TTAC readers regarding the photo at the top of the page. There is nothing that positively identifies this individual as Barry Obama. That is a conclusion being reached by many without any supportable evidence.
     
    And even if it is Barry, you’re  going to take up for this guy? Why?
     
    WGAF?

  • avatar
    Syke

    If that’s Obama, it’s a damned poor caricature.

  • avatar
    285exp

    John, there is no doubt that is our Dear Leader being pictured, but having President Obama as the face of an overly intrusive “We know what’s best for you” Big Brother certainly isn’t particulary inappropriate.  While the faces of Carlos Ghosn or Akio Toyoda might have been more accurate, nobody would have known who they were.
    But exceptionally poor taste? Get a grip folks.

  • avatar
    panzerfaust

    “Imagine an Orwellian future where faceless international corporations track your every move. Drop by the bar after work, call in sick to go to the beach, visit your mistress’ house.”  This guy has heard of the internet, and cell phones hasn’t he?  This sort of tracking has been going on for a decade or more. 
     
    And speaking of cell phones, if you want a system that will; “ locate nearby charging stations, know how far they can drive before draining the battery, monitor traffic to take less crowded routes, assess their driving habits to improve mileage and compare their mileage with that of other electric car drivers.”  Nissan ought to just give Apple a call and ask them to turn this into an ap for the iPhone, it’ll be done in a week and be easier and cheaper than anything Nissan will inflict upon us.

    Actually, we’re closer to Huxley’s “Brave New World” than we are to Orwell.

  • avatar
    PeregrineFalcon

    Absolutely loving the delicious angry political tears. Perfect timing what with the mid-terms having just passed.

    Please continue with the “tasteless” images – they seem to be a great way to weed out anyone who can’t take a joke.


Back to TopLeave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Subscribe without commenting

Recent Comments

New Car Research

Get a Free Dealer Quote

Staff

  • Authors

  • Brendan McAleer, Canada
  • Marcelo De Vasconcellos, Brazil
  • Matthias Gasnier, Australia
  • J & J Sutherland, Canada
  • Tycho de Feyter, China
  • W. Christian 'Mental' Ward, Abu Dhabi
  • Mark Stevenson, Canada
  • Faisal Ali Khan, India