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Ford Exec: 'We Know Everyone Who Breaks the Law' Thanks To Our GPS In Your Car 599

Posted by Soulskill
from the they-know-what-you-did-last-summer dept.
An anonymous reader sends this report from Business Insider: "[Ford VP Jim Farley] was trying to describe how much data Ford has on its customers, and illustrate the fact that the company uses very little of it in order to avoid raising privacy concerns: 'We know everyone who breaks the law, we know when you're doing it. We have GPS in your car, so we know what you're doing. By the way, we don't supply that data to anyone,' he told attendees. Rather, he said, he imagined a day when the data might be used anonymously and in aggregate to help other marketers with traffic related problems. Suppose a stadium is holding an event; knowing how much traffic is making its way toward the arena might help the venue change its parking lot resources accordingly, he said." Farley later realized how his statement sounded, and added, "We do not track our customers in their cars without their approval or consent."
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Ford Exec: 'We Know Everyone Who Breaks the Law' Thanks To Our GPS In Your Car

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  • Re:Herpin' the Derp (Score:5, Informative)

    by girlintraining (1395911) on Friday January 10, 2014 @10:01AM (#45915795)

    Well, until they show up with an NSL, in which case we'll supply the data forthwith. But don't worry, we'll still have to maintain we really don't.

    NSL? Dude, why does everyone think it takes super secret letters from the government to get a corporation to whore on your personal data? I wasn't joking when I said cars these days have EULAs [ford.com]. To quote Ford's EULA covering this particular feature: Ford may use the vehicle information it collects, as well as information regarding individual access to Vehicle Health Reports at www.syncmyride.com for any purpose.

  • by girlintraining (1395911) on Friday January 10, 2014 @10:07AM (#45915857)

    Customers don't generally report casual breakdowns, for example. Also, habit trends can help with designing newer models. You'll always get a better picture of your customers' habits with transparent metrics.

    Let's not forget that a complete history of your driving habits can be sold to third parties for a nice profit. Oh, did I mention by third parties I mean anyone, ever? You don't need a search warrant... just pay the $5 to get a complete "enhanced driver profile". I know what you're thinking: Aren't there laws against this? Maybe, but you agreed to let them do whatever they want when you turned the key and drove it off the lot; says so in the small print [ford.com].

    When you run a Vehicle Health Report, Ford Motor Company may collect your cell phone number (to process your report request) and diagnostic information about your vehicle. Certain versions or updates to Vehicle Health Report may also collect additional vehicle information. Ford may use the vehicle information it collects, as well as information regarding individual access to Vehicle Health Reports at www.syncmyride.com for any purpose.

  • by Andy Prough (2730467) on Friday January 10, 2014 @10:28AM (#45916053)
    One reason car companies collect this data is to steal the car back from you (repossess it) in the event of non-payment. The GPS tracking is often turned over to the Repo operators when they need to go steal your car back.
  • Re:Herpin' the Derp (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 10, 2014 @10:48AM (#45916241)

    'ford' won't know who the current owner is,

    Oh please. Every state DMV shares that information with vehicle manufacturers. How do you think they're able to send you a recall notice when you're not the original owner?

  • by TWX (665546) on Friday January 10, 2014 @10:55AM (#45916329)

    One reason car companies collect this data is to steal the car back from you (repossess it) in the event of non-payment. The GPS tracking is often turned over to the Repo operators when they need to go steal your car back.

    Bullshit. The financing companies, even those owned by the auto manufacturers, aren't savvy enough to get that kind of information from the manufacturer, and the repo companies generally aren't savvy enough to use that information even if it were passed on to them. They'd have to be able to do this in real-time for it to be any good over current methods.

    Towing companies get the home and work addresses of the defaulted borrower, and possibly the addresses of family members, and go look for the car at those locations. They don't concern themselves with getting every single car, and they don't go after vehicles that are stored under lock and key unless there's a compelling reason to bring law enforcement with them.

  • Re:Herpin' the Derp (Score:3, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 10, 2014 @10:59AM (#45916391)

    In the interest of accuracy, you've overreached.

    And your handheld GPS with WAAS you use for free and accurate 1-meter geocaching.

    Unlike your other examples, your handheld GPS does not have outbound connectivity to a network, so they, at least, can't be tracking your position.

  • Re:Herpin' the Derp (Score:5, Informative)

    by AthanasiusKircher (1333179) on Friday January 10, 2014 @12:02PM (#45917175)

    The Legal maxim is "Qui tacet consentire": "Silence gives consent".

    The phrase is "qui tacet consentire videtur," which literally means, "he who is silent appears [videtur] to consent." Your phrase doesn't make grammatical sense. Literally, you said: "he who is silent, to consent."

    In modern corporate legal language this translates to -- "(Consumer) Ignorence is (Our) Bliss".

    Since we're on the topic of Latin, the English word ignorance comes from a first-conjugation Latin verb ignorare -- note the characteristics "a" of the first conjugation.

    Pro-tip: whenever posting about "ignorance," check your sources.

  • Re:Herpin' the Derp (Score:5, Informative)

    by Archangel Michael (180766) on Friday January 10, 2014 @12:15PM (#45917389) Journal

    You realize, you don't actually purchase your vehicle. Even people who pay cash do not get the MSO of the car, it goes to the state (or destroyed) in which the car was sold, and replaced with a "certificate of title" which people assume is "title" but it is not, it is just a certificate that the title has been handed to the state. if you were to gain the MSO for the vehicle you're driving, you would not need to put a license plate on your vehicle as it is not tied to the state in any way shape or form.

    We hand over so much power and authority to the "state" by our normal actions that we are not aware of. We are wards and slaves to the state.

  • by nabsltd (1313397) on Friday January 10, 2014 @12:17PM (#45917411)

    I understand why people would have a GPS in their car, and why a recording of their actions might be stored on the car (although even more than a short history should be easily erased), but why doesn't this information need to be transmitted back to the car company at all?

    Unless their newest cars have changed radically (I have a 2011 Ford), nothing is transmitted back, because there is no transmitter built in to the car. You can have your cell phone connected via bluetooth, but that doesn't give the car access to the data network (although it does have access to make phone calls, obviously).

    The GPS data may be stored, and it might be recoverable in some way, but if you don't take your car into a Ford dealer and don't send a "vehicle health report", I don't see any way that Ford can get the data.

  • Re:Well (Score:3, Informative)

    by StripedCow (776465) on Friday January 10, 2014 @12:20PM (#45917451)

    The economy is a group dynamic process. Your role in the economy is affected by the roles of others, and how they play them. This may not be a direct relation, but the relation exists, and in several ways (not just as a consumer-buyer relationship). Therefore, what a CEO of some company does is certainly your and my business.

  • Re:Herpin' the Derp (Score:5, Informative)

    by JeffAtl (1737988) on Friday January 10, 2014 @12:28PM (#45917541)

    Well, until they show up with an NSL, in which case we'll supply the data forthwith. But don't worry, we'll still have to maintain we really don't.

    It doesn't take a NSL. A subpoena in a divorce case or a warrant from local law enforcement would be enough.

    Why does everyone think that the NSA is the only entity capable of obtaining private data?

  • by sottitron (923868) on Friday January 10, 2014 @01:00PM (#45917965)
    Why do I need to rely on signs in this day and age? Why doesn't my car display the speed limit wherever I am? Its frustrating to be in an industrial area and find that you are speeding because the limit dropped to 25 for no reason.
  • Re:Herpin' the Derp (Score:5, Informative)

    by femtobyte (710429) on Friday January 10, 2014 @01:49PM (#45918511)

    The concept of ownership, title, and property are themselves products of having a state. Why am I not allowed to jump in "your" car, modify it as I wish (to start the ignition), and drive away? Because, somewhere in a filing cabinet, there is a magical piece of paper saying that the car is "yours" and not "mine" --- a property in no way inherent in the physical existence of the car itself. The "magic" of the paper that makes the car "yours" is that enough people agree to the rules of the state --- so, they probably won't try to drive your car; and, if they do, someone else may hunt them down and forcibly detain them (again, by power of the state). There is no private property without the state, besides the "private property" of whoever is strongest and nastiest to kill everyone else and grab their stuff.

    States may indeed have too much power --- but, if you want "private property" so that some magical piece of paper can dictate who gets to drive "your" car, then you'll need a state (a shared delusion negotiated with a sufficient number of your neighbors).

  • Not buying Ford.... (Score:2, Informative)

    by Lumpy (12016) on Friday January 10, 2014 @02:10PM (#45918719) Homepage

    Another american car maker off my list of ever buying again.

    There is no legitimate reason to have a GPS in my car unless I specifically paid for it as a part of the navigation package or the "on Star" package. Putting one there without my consent is criminal behavoir.

    Ford's CEO is a dirty criminal.

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