Driving Dystopia: Automakers Are Selling Your Driving Data to Insurance Companies

A recent report from The New York Times has accused automakers of selling customer driving data to insurance firms. While this is something many drivers had already been made aware of since the implementation of connected vehicles, the outlet claims that the amount of data has ramped up to a staggering degree. Not only is the amount of data being shared staggering, so is the specificity and degree to which it’s impacting people’s insurance rates.

The report focuses on LexisNexis’ “Risk Solutions” program formerly dedicated to keeping track of accident reports and moving violations. However, the division has expanded dramatically over the years and now oversees just about every scrap of relevant data modern vehicles can accumulate about you.

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Abandoned History: Oldsmobile's Guidestar Navigation System and Other Cartography (Part VI)

Sacrificing much, GM spent billions and billions of 1980s dollars on technology and engineering entities at the behest of CEO Roger Smith, who wanted to transform The General into a company more resembling a conglomerate like GE. Half a decade later Smith was gone, and the remaining brass began to unwind the costly EDS and Hughes deals and return GM to its standard operating procedure. But behind the layers of finance and paperwork, Guidestar GPS was developed. And the first time the public got to see it was in 1994 in a very exciting debut.

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Abandoned History: Oldsmobile's Guidestar Navigation System and Other Cartography (Part V)

As we learned in our last installment in this series, the lowering of the digital and governmental barrier between civilian and military GPS assets in 1996 was a boon to the consumer side of navigation, and (per our comments) land surveying as well. It was a timely turn of events for General Motors after the Orlando area TravTek experiment of 1992 proved either too costly to scale, or alternatively not valuable enough in the eyes of consumers. Before we get to GuideStar, we need to cover much context around why GM was so keen on high-tech things in the Nineties, and the massive amounts of money it spent in its pursuit.

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Maine Approves Right-to-Repair Rules, Auto Lobby Annoyed

The State of Maine has voted "yes" to Question 4, which mimics the right-to-repair legislation that passed in Massachusetts three years earlier. This makes Maine the sixth state in the U.S. to approve such a measure and requires automakers to standardize modern vehicle onboard diagnostic systems and make them available to both customers and any independent repair shops they’d like to use.

While the decision represents another important victory for the right-to-repair movement, the world’s largest automotive lobby predictably bemoaned the situation.

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How Much Privacy Do You Really Have In Modern Vehicles?

Whenever the issue of vehicular privacy comes up, the discussion almost immediately pivots to individuals either defending or condemning the status quo. But this often happens without either side of the argument having a firm understanding of how much information is actually being obtained inside today’s automobiles.

While we’ve covered the topic frequently, articles have typically focused on specific issues rather than overall scope. But things are different this time, with the Mozilla Foundation recently issuing a study trying to assess just how far-reaching the automotive industry’s quest for data has become.

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NHTSA Tells Auto Industry Not to Comply With Massachusetts Data Laws

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has advised automakers not to comply with a Massachusetts vehicle telematics rule designed to ensure customers have control over what happens with their private data. It’s the regulators' assertion that companies are obligated to enforce federal standards while suggesting that the state law poses safety concerns.

Interestingly, that’s the exact same claim the automotive lobby was making when the Massachusetts law was up first for debate and leaves one wondering who exactly the NHTSA is advocating for.

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Automakers Claim They Can’t Comply With Right-to-Repair Laws

The State of Massachusetts' Right-to-Repair law was passed in 2012, laying the foundation for the rest of the United States to begin securing consumer protections that would allow them to work on the products they own. General Motors and Stellantis are now claiming they cannot possibly adhere to the rules and have done nothing to prepare for complying with the law.

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QOTD: How Much Privacy Will You Trade?

We've been on the privacy kick lately, reporting a bit this week on automaker plans to use technology to provide over-the-air updates and feature upgrades, at the possible expense of your privacy.

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BMW and Amazon Partner Up to Swipe Your Data

Amazon Web Services and BMW are reportedly joining forces to establish a new cloud-based software designed to deliver and manage the data amassed by connected vehicles – which is great news if you happen not to value your privacy.

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Hyundai Announces Future Roadmap: Subscriptions, Software Defined Vehicles, and OTA Updates

Hyundai Motor Group – which includes Hyundai, Kia, and Genesis – has announced a comprehensive plan for its products from 2025 onward with the key components being perpetual connectivity, subscriptions, and software-defined automobiles. It sounds benign but actually represents a major shift in the way the company operates by calling for widespread platform standardization and leaning into novel revenue streams reliant on vehicles existing on its corporate network.

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Whoops: Some Seattle-Area Mazdas Are Stuck Listening to NPR

There’s a gaggle of Mazda owners in Seattle, Washington, that have reportedly been stuck listening to National Public Radio (NPR) over the last few weeks. The manufacturer has addressed the problem, saying the local affiliate had broadcast images files with no extension causing an issue on some 2014-2017 Mazda vehicles with older HD radio software. This effectively bricked the infotainment system on some vehicles, locking them into listening to NPR and out of literally everything else.

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Can Automakers Really Cash In on Connectivity and Subscription Schemes?

A little over a decade ago, it seemed like everyone I knew was abandoning cable packages for online streaming services. They were cheaper, on-demand, and offered more choices with fewer advertisements. But as the years progressed, companies stopped selling their media to a handful of online video platforms and started building their own. Programming became more transient and isolated, forcing consumers to buy into additional subscription services. We’ve since hit a point where the overall consumer experience has diminished and grown more expensive, despite the steady influx of competition.

While automakers have been dabbling with subscription services of their own, their earliest attempts turned out to be such overwhelmingly bad deals that the public refused to play along. But they’re not giving up that easily. Industry players have been trying to figure out ways to charge customers indefinitely for years and are starting to settle upon subscription packages that can unlock hardware that’s already been installed into the vehicle or add software that can be downloaded via over-the-air (OTA) updates. Love or hate it, vehicular connectivity has opened up the door for new sources of revenue and businesses everywhere are eager to take advantage — with most companies projecting exceptionally healthy profits for the years ahead.

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Report: The End of 3G Could Leave Your Vehicle With Fewer Features

When people started burning down 5G towers in fear, the practice seemed a little misguided. But if you happen to be the owner of a connected automobile, there’s a chance you’ll be wishing enough of them had been taken down to delay those low-latency spires from becoming the default broadcasting network.

While you were probably aware that 3G cellular networks will be shut down in the U.S. next year so the telecom industry can focus in on 5G, you may not have been hip to the fact that this could totally nullify the connected features inside of your car. Unfortunately, loads of automobiles manufactured the early days of phone pairing and internet integration won’t be able to make the journey into 5G like the new phone or tablet you purchased. Worse yet, there are even some modern vehicles that are about to become a lot less feature rich with companies that have no intention of offering updates.

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Tesla Removes Full Self Driving Beta Over 'Issues'

Tesla Inc. pulled its Full Self Driving (FSD) beta off the table over the weekend, with CEO Elon Musk stating that testers had been “seeing some issues with [version] 10.3.”

To remedy the issue, the company has reverted back to FSD 10.2 temporarily. Musk made the announcement over social media on Sunday morning. The following day, he had already promised that version 10.3.1 would be coming out to address problems encountered during the exceptionally short public testing phase.

“Please note, this is to be expected with beta software,” the CEO noted. “It is impossible to test all hardware configs in all conditions with internal QA, hence public beta.”

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Opinion: Tesla's Full-Self Driving Beta Is a Bad Joke

Earlier this week, Elon Musk announced that Tesla would begin offering the Full Self-Driving (FSD) Beta to testers that had achieved sufficiently high marks in its new “safety score.” While company has repeatedly promised to launch FSD in earnest, which costs $10,000 to purchase or $199 a month to rent (depending on which version of Autopilot you’re using), the system has been habitually delayed from getting a widespread release. This has upset more than a few customers operating under the assumption that having bought into the service actually meant something.

That said, the rollout has technically begun and continues encompassing more users. But regulators are annoyed that the company is now testing FSD’s functionality on thousands of paying customers and the terms in which Tesla is offering FSD has changed in a manner that makes your author extremely uncomfortable. The automaker originally intended to provide the system via a simple over-the-air (OTA) update as availability expanded. However Tesla now has a button allowing drivers to request FSD by opening them up to a period of scrutiny where their driving is digitally judged. Despite your having already shelled out cash for it, access to the beta is determined by the manufacturer’s safety score.

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  • Lorenzo 1 million barrels is 42 million gallons. The country uses 368 million gallons a DAY. The reserve was set aside after Hurricane Sandy caused a gasoline shortage for emergency vehicles. The hurricane season starts on June 1 and is predicted to be active. Nice going.
  • Chuck Norton Toolguy- I have. It's hard on the knees...
  • EBFlex Welp the corpse is at it again. They think they can buy votes by selling off from the SPR. The best thing they could do to get votes is close the border and start deporting people. That would guarantee them a win in November. As of right now though, they are not doing that and Trump is rising in the polls every day.
  • Jalop1991 What is this "dealer" thing Ford speaks of?
  • Picard234 So this release amounts to 2.7 hours of gasoline consumption in the US. You won't even see a penny. The administration is draining the reserves for political optics, nothing more.