QOTD: How Can We Claw Back Some Privacy?

Tim Healey
by Tim Healey

Matt's post from earlier today led to a natural QOTD. Thing is, if I asked you how comfortable you were with government-mandated kill switches, driver monitoring, and the like, almost all of you would say no.

It's one of the few things left in this country that unites liberals, libertarians, centrists, and conservatives -- almost all of us are tired of giving up privacy, even for regulations that are well-intended. For example, most of us are all for reducing drunk driving, but few of us would want to have the government monitoring our BAC each time we got behind the wheel.

So, instead, I ask, what can we do as consumers to keep our cars our private domains, preferably while also still achieving noble goals such as reducing drunk and/or distracted driving?

I consider myself fairly smart, or at least relatively well educated, but I admit I don't have a lot of answers here. I do want to the government, the automakers, and other companies to be limited when it comes to how much user data they can hoover up. I am also OK with most regulations that aim to reduce drunk and/or distracted driving -- I have no issue with most of the current rules and regs and the few quibbles I have are minor.

That said, drunk driving does remain a problem, as does distracted driving. So now we have the government talking about trying to reduce the problem further at the expense of motorists privacy.

Or maybe it's much ado about nothing -- sometimes these proposals seem scary but in the end the worst doesn't come to pass. Perhaps laws will be passed to ensure our data is anonymized and that any deactivation systems only work if our car is stolen or if the driver is really, truly doing some seriously criminal stuff. Perhaps driver-monitoring systems will detect medical problems as opposed to accidentally thinking a teetotaler is hammered. Maybe any paranoia is just that.

So, what say you? To go back to the question I was initially trying to avoid, are you willing to accept this kind of tech in your car? And if not, how do we stop it? How do we so while also still continuing to try to reduce the truly serious problems of drunk and/or distracted driving ?

Sound off below.

[Image: metamorworks/Shutterstock]

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Tim Healey
Tim Healey

Tim Healey grew up around the auto-parts business and has always had a love for cars — his parents joke his first word was “‘Vette”. Despite this, he wanted to pursue a career in sports writing but he ended up falling semi-accidentally into the automotive-journalism industry, first at Consumer Guide Automotive and later at Web2Carz.com. He also worked as an industry analyst at Mintel Group and freelanced for About.com, CarFax, Vehix.com, High Gear Media, Torque News, FutureCar.com, Cars.com, among others, and of course Vertical Scope sites such as AutoGuide.com, Off-Road.com, and HybridCars.com. He’s an urbanite and as such, doesn’t need a daily driver, but if he had one, it would be compact, sporty, and have a manual transmission.

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3 of 42 comments
  • TheMrFreeze TheMrFreeze on Jun 25, 2024
    As somebody who's worked in the tech sector for more years than I care to admit, the only way you're getting some of your privacy back car-wise is to drive something old that pre-dates all of the BS infesting the modern automotive industry. If you really care about safeguarding your privacy in any meaningful way, install Linux on your desktop/laptop and buy a smartphone capable of running an alternative version of Android like /e/OS from Murena. You'd be amazed at how well they work...
    • Mike Beranek Mike Beranek on Jun 25, 2024
      Those are great ideas, but unfortunately beyond the capabilities of most people. And if someone made Linux more accessible, it would ruin the things that make it great. Catch-22.
  • Jrhurren Jrhurren on Jun 26, 2024
    The history of our government is that they approve things on safety arguments, and then abuse it (your rights) behind the scenes.
  • EBFlex Ford finally making a good decision although they should shut down their EV operations and investment all together. Why lose that money too?
  • Mike Lol. This is the king of suvs. And its made by GM.Why is everyone trashing it?Top of its its class for a quarter century.
  • Frank Drove past there last week, plant has a huge poster of a bronco on the outside. I was thinking "Is that where they build the new broncos?" I know they use to make the Edge and that other mundane SUV there but I believe both have been canned.
  • CanadaCraig Toyota saw this coming. So good for them for being courageous enough to say, "Wait a minute. Let's not rush into anything."
  • Rna65689660 As the previous owner of a Triumph, and current owner of a MINI, I say, LOL!