Category: Privacy

By on May 9, 2017

Porsche cayenne diesel

While places like New York and California might come to mind first, no one bans things quite like the jurisdictions north of the border. Banning, a popular pastime given the cold outside temperatures, are always done in the hazy pursuit of public safety. Something bad could happen? Ban it.

When it comes to smoking, few will disagree that smoking in the workplace can have a negative impact on employees. The same goes for restaurant and bar patrons. As non-smoking areas (both indoors and outdoors) expand across the U.S., here’s a cautionary tale of how vindictive and overzealous an enforcer of these law can be.

They’ll nab you in your car. Read More >

By on September 15, 2016

Tesla Model S

It’s common knowledge that Tesla vehicles store and transmit data back to the company’s Fremont, California home base, but a hacker working on a wrecked Model S just discovered something startling.

In an interview published by Inverse (h/t to Hybrid Cars), North Carolina computer programmer Jason Hughes claims that Tesla’s Autopilot system actually records video. While working on a center display unit from a wrecked Model S, Hughes found footage of the vehicle’s crash. Read More >

By on August 27, 2016

2016 Jeep® Wrangler Unlimited 75th Anniversary edition

A Houston-area vehicle-theft ring that used laptops to enter, then steal, over 100 Jeep and Ram vehicles exposed a serious internal security breach at Fiat Chrysler Automobiles.

Now that two arrests have been made in the case, FCA is talking tough and threatening criminal proceedings against anyone who provides outsiders with key vehicle data, Automotive News reports. Read More >

By on August 2, 2016

roadside traffic stop police (Ruin Raider/Flickr)

A roadside drug-testing pilot program signed into law at the end of June is unconstitutional and runs the risk of destroying lives, a motorist’s advocacy group says.

Michigan’s “Barbara J. and Thomas J. Swift Law” will see five counties selected for roadside saliva swab tests designed to identify drivers impaired by drugs. The one-year pilot, which became law on June 24, raised the ire of the National Motorists Association, which claims the law oversteps boundaries and could prove inaccurate. Read More >

By on June 13, 2016

Money (Frankleleon/Flickr)

When a police cruiser lights up behind you, a driver usually fears two things: a costly speeding ticket, or a roadside breathalyzer test.

The driver probably isn’t worrying about having the contents of his or her bank account seized, followed by a long and possibly fruitless journey to recoup their lost cash, but that’s the power local law enforcement has over its citizens.

And technology is now making it easier to use that power more and more often. Read More >

By on May 27, 2016

Data, Image: rh2ox/Flickr

Your faithful four-wheeled companion — the one that costs you an arm and a leg but you still love it — has the data-gathering potential to make your life a Kafkaesque nightmare.

Researchers have found that a car’s computer network can identify a driver just by the way they operate the vehicle. Even something as simple as the brake pedal can pinpoint who’s behind the wheel, according to a report published in Wired. Read More >

By on May 2, 2016

CRX with finger

TTAC commenter Piston Slap Yo Mamma has given us a great gift.

While perusing used cars on his local Craigslist site, he noticed a trend occurring in the vehicle images. Fingers. Lots of them. Obscuring license plates. Possibly, revealing more about the driver than the plate itself.

So numerous were these crooked appendages, often topped with purple or naturally yellow nails, that he felt the need to share them. So, this Tumblr page was born. Read More >

By on April 28, 2016

tloxp

The phrase “disruptive technology” has long since been co-opted to mean “a new iPhone app for people to share photos of their meals” but it has an original and genuine meaning as well: any technology that matures faster than society’s ability to use it constructively. The list of disruptive technologies includes entries as diverse as mustard gas and the automobile itself, but the advent of the connected world has unleashed a diverse cornucopia of unintended consequences ranging from Amazon’s destruction of brick-and-mortar retailers to the corrosive effect that the various “reunion” and “classmates” websites have on American marriages.

TTAC has covered the world of automated license plate readers (ALPRs) several times, most recently discussing a company that assists police with collecting outstanding court costs and fines against motorists in traffic. We’ve also discussed the fact that governmental use of ALPRs amounts to a sort of camel’s nose under the tent.

Here’s the rest of the camel.

Read More >

By on April 12, 2016

texting behind the wheel of death

As the state of New York debates new distracted driving legislation, an Israeli firm is putting the finishing touches on a “textalyzer” device that could rat out drivers for using their phone before a crash.

Israeli mobile forensics firm Cellebrite developed the data-scanning device, according to Ars Technica, which could become the newest — and most controversial — law enforcement tool since the Taser.

Cellebrite, which sounds like a medication for over-sexed honors students, specializes in data extraction and decoding, and boasts of its 15,000-plus military and law enforcement customers on its website. The firm really knows its stuff — it’s generally believed that they helped the FBI hack into the iPhone at the heart of the San Bernardino/Apple controversy.

Read More >

By on April 4, 2016

 

2016 Toyota RAV4

Your vehicle’s technology is enslaving you, and Toyota wants to help you break free.

Today, Toyota has become the latest automaker to create a subsidiary tasked with generating new technology and innovation for its parent company.

Called Toyota Connected Inc., the venture is a collaboration with Microsoft that will serve as a data science and mobile technology hob for the world’s largest automaker. The plan is to use Microsoft’s Azure cloud technology to “humanize” the driving experience and make vehicles’ high-tech abilities less intrusive and more useful. Read More >

By on March 31, 2016

Auto Repair

Your vehicle’s hidden flaws and most shocking (mechanical) secrets will soon be just a click away.

The Department of Transportation is ending the clandestine relationship between your car’s dealer and the manufacturer by posting all Technical Service Bulletins (TSB) online, according to Consumer Reports.

TSBs, which outline the recommended procedure for repairing vehicles, will be posted in PDF form on the safercar.gov website.

Read More >

By on March 28, 2016

TrueCar

TrueCar, the prolific third-party car shopping site, is changing the way it does business in the hopes of mending dealer relations and reversing the company’s flagging fortunes.

When TrueCar president and CEO Chip Perry took the helm of the site last December, his stated goal was to make amends with ornery partners and bring the company out of a period of turmoil.

Read More >

By on February 2, 2016

You probably don’t know much about Vigilant Systems, but the company likely knows more about you than you know about them. That because Vigilant Systems is in the business of knowing. The company has so far collected about 2.8 billion license plate photos with its network of cameras, and every month it adds another 70-80 million photos, including a timestamp of the photo and geographic location of the plate, to Vigilant Solutions’ permanent storage. They sell that data to police departments and, depending on the jurisdiction, even some private sector institutions, such as insurance companies investigating fraud.

Vigilant Solutions’ deals with government agencies have raised concerns about civil liberties, freedom of movement, privacy and mass surveillance. As Conor Friedersdorf at The Atlantic describes Vigilant Solutions, “your diminished privacy is their product.” Read More >

By on December 30, 2015

A Chicago Tribune investigation has uncovered that the city’s speed cameras have nabbed school bus drivers, police, public employees and city bus drivers more than 8,000 times over the past two years.

In most cases the tickets were passed on to the drivers, but in some cases — bus drivers and police driving unmarked cars who could justify speeding — those fines were either paid by the Chicago Transit Authority or waived altogether.

The Chicago Tribune’s fine, fine, fine reporting work uncovered 714 bus violations and more than 2,000 police tickets in two years. Read More >

By on December 4, 2015

Cartographer

No one will laugh at you for majoring in cartography anymore. Well, maybe not everyone. — Aaron

Daimler AG, Audi and BMW announced Friday that the trio had completed its purchase of Nokia’s mapmaking business, HERE, which the trio announced they were seeking to purchase in August.

The companies didn’t specify details about the transaction, and said they would announce more about their purchase on Monday. In August, the companies announced they were purchasing the mapmaking business, which provides cloud-based maps and data for more than 200 countries, to further develop “swarm technology” that could allow cars to communicate with each other.

Read More >

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