Remote unlocking of your car’s doors via your smartphone , activating horn and lights and remote start, previously part of GM’s paid OnStar service, is becoming a standard feature, GM says. Buy the car, download the app, and the car can be remote-controlled via your smartphone for five years, whether you pay for OnStar, or not. “Thirty-six 2014 model year GM vehicles are compatible with the RemoteLink mobile app,” says GM in a press release, meaning that most of GM’s new cars are permanently on-line, can be reached, tracked, can reveal their locations, OnStar, or not, ignition on, or not.
At the same time, says Time Magazine, “Law-enforcement officials from San Francisco to Washington, D.C., are again sounding an alarm over mobile-phone thefts, demanding that the wireless industry, resellers and lawmakers take new steps to quash the thriving black market for boosted devices.” According to the story, “Cell-phone theft in major cities has become a national crime epidemic, like the car-stereo crime wave of the 1990s. In San Francisco, about half of all robberies now involve mobile phones, and in New York City there was a 40% increase in mobile thefts in 2012. One recent Harris poll found that nearly 10% of cellular users said their phone had been stolen at one point.”
Cell phone theft is estimated to cost consumers $30 billion a year. Imagine the cost, when a car is attached to that shiny new phone.Data theft is much more rampant, and it’s your government that does the wholesale stealing.
A report in The Guardian revealed “that under the Obama administration the communication records of millions of US citizens are being collected indiscriminately and in bulk – regardless of whether they are suspected of any wrongdoing.”
Such information is “a critical tool in protecting the nation from terrorist threats to the United States,” a senior administration official told Reuters. Says the wire:
“The revelation raises fresh concerns about President Barack Obama’s handling of privacy and free speech issues. His administration is already under fire for searching Associated Press journalists’ calling records and the emails of a Fox television reporter as part of its inquiries into leaked government information.”
A day later, the Washington Post revealed that the U.S. Government can pull your data “directly from the servers of these U.S. Service Providers: Microsoft, Yahoo, Google, Facebook, PalTalk, AOL, Skype, YouTube, Apple,” and has been doing so for years. If those good folks cooperate with the Feds, imagine the willingness of people who still are partially owned, and very much controlled by the U.S. Government.
OnStar data are transmitted via wireless data, which is wide open to the government and criminals alike.
Quite possibly, the only defense is to take the battery out of phone and car.