Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Privacy Transportation

Volkswagen Chairman: Cars Must Not Become 'Data Monsters' 89

Posted by timothy
from the this-calls-for-more-kraftwerk dept.
Nerval's Lobster writes "While automakers from Tokyo to Detroit rush to sprinkle their respective vehicles with all sorts of sensors and screens, the chairman of Volkswagen Group has warned about the limits of data analytics for automobiles. 'The car must not become a data monster,' Martin Winterkorn told an audience at the CeBit trade show in Germany, according to Re/code. 'I clearly say yes to Big Data, yes to greater security and convenience, but no to paternalism and Big Brother.' At the same time, Winterkorn endorsed a closer relationship between tech companies such as IBM and the auto industry, and highlighted Volkswagen's experiments with autonomous driving—both of which will necessarily infuse automakers (and his company in particular) with more data-driven processes. The question is which policies from which entities will ultimately dictate how that data is used. Winterkorn isn't the first individual to voice concerns about how automakers (and their partners) store and analyze all that vehicle data. At this January's Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, a Ford executive drew considerable controversy by suggesting that Ford collects detailed information on how customers use its vehicles. '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,' Jim Farley, Ford's global vice president of marketing and sales, told show attendees. Farley later attempted to clarify his statement to Business Insider, but that didn't stop a fierce debate over vehicle monitoring—and certainly hasn't stopped automakers and tech companies from collaborating over more ways to integrate data-centric features to vehicles."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Volkswagen Chairman: Cars Must Not Become 'Data Monsters'

Comments Filter:
  • by HornWumpus (783565) on Tuesday March 11, 2014 @03:00PM (#46457303)

    Not only do you not have a computer overriding your throttle stomp, you avoid big brother with an old car.

    • by Anonymous Coward
      Rand Paul? Is that you buddy? You know, just because you're paranoid doesn't mean they're not out to get you.
    • Not only do you not have a computer overriding your throttle stomp, you avoid big brother with an old car.

      While you may think that you would be invisible by owning an older car, I'm willing to bet that future gen self-driving vehicles will tattle on you. They will use various sensors to detect your old car on the road, identify it, and tell all of the other smart cars around you all about you. In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if RFIDs aren't embedded in our license plates in the future. It would make it easier for cops to issue tickets (i.e. scan the license), could be used for tolls, etc.

      • Not really worried about self driving vehicles. It's just not going to happen, sans strong AI and huge changes in liability law.

        Still the next gen of cars will likely include license plate readers. There goes privacy regarding where we go. Ship sailed with cell phone GPS so BFD. At least the cops will learn some manners.

        • by sjames (1099)

          No need for strong AI, a more insect (or bird) like instinctive response will be good enough (and has been accomplished).

          The liability law is a much thougher problem and may never be cracked.

        • Not really worried about self driving vehicles. It's just not going to happen, sans strong AI and huge changes in liability law.

          Don't need strong AI. In fact, effective self-driving vehicles exist *now*, although they need a little more polish to become practical for general use. Liability is the big road block, but the pressure to implement this technology will be great enough that something will be done.

          • Bullshit. Self driving vehicles today have professional drivers paying attention so they can take over when the computer says 'I'm confused'.

            Look at the failure modes of the last DARPA self driving car challenge. Those are real self driving cars and aren't allowed anywhere near pedestrians.

      • They will use various sensors to detect your old car on the road, identify it, and tell all of the other smart cars around you all about you.

        Which, arguably, *could* be useful for, e.g., safer driving in bad weather.

    • by djbckr (673156)

      After owning a Prius(*), I specifically went looking for an old vehicle and found an old, 1988 Jeep Wrangler that I'm in the process of fixing up. You see, you can't fix up or work on a Prius, or most cars these days and I very much missed doing that. The Jeep is carbureted with no computers whatsoever and I'm loving it because I have control over what I want to do with it. This summer, I'm going to make a project out of replacing the dash and user controls with Arduino and Beaglebone controllers and displa

    • by drinkypoo (153816)

      For sale: 1982 300SD. The only computer required for the car to operate is the one that runs the automatic transmission, and it's only required for some kickdowns, and the glow plug relay timer which you could replace with a switch if you had to since the system uses constant current glow plugs. If the electrical system fails completely during your journey, you will still be able to finish your journey. Since it runs on diesel you can even refuel without shutting off, it's not going to throw a code when you

      • Euro Taxi? No thanks. I'm sure you can get way more then it's worth if you throw a biodiesel sticker on it. I know a shop in downtown sac that is making a fortune selling biodiesel cars and biodiesel to fools.

        • by drinkypoo (153816)

          These cars are appreciating because of their nature. I have a 1997 A8 that was originally over 70k and I paid under 3. It's worth about 6 or 7 (I have made numerous repairs already) and in five more years it'll be worth 3 or 4. But my Mercedes is actually gaining value. It is now a classic, it's literally the end of an era and the last of a generation, and I'm going to just sit on it (occasionally repairing or replacing something) until I can get my money back out.

          • Good for you.

            I paid $2500 for my '60 Saratoga. The last two sold (that I'm aware of) went for $20k and $45k. Mine is nicer.

            • by drinkypoo (153816)

              Yours is worth more, mine is a better car.

              Still working on getting rid of it, because I want more amenities.

              I have a truck for those crusty times. Or for fetching parts :p

              • We'll just have to disagree on that. Yours is a better commuter. Mine is a much better work of rolling art.

                • by drinkypoo (153816)

                  We'll just have to disagree on that. Yours is a better commuter. Mine is a much better work of rolling art.

                  I didn't say anything about art, I said car. As in, for driving around and doing stuff. Mine is safer (no fancy electronics, just all high strength steel unibody with crumple zones, but still full size) and at least as reliable, and gets better mileage, and is even better over uneven terrain and rough roads. As far as car value the W126 Mercedes is really pretty fantastic. But with that said, it wasn't enough car for me any more, so if someone makes me a decent offer (and I'm done hawking it, but I do like

  • We have GPS in your car, so we know what you're doing

    No, you don't, because I unplugged the GPS antenna (since I don't actually have a nav system), leaving your hardwired spyware trapped uselessly deep inside in a big Faraday cage.

    / Not actually a Ford, but if you don't think the same applies to any new car, I have a bridge to sell you.
    • by Anonymous Coward

      GPS only receives and does not transmit... the real question is are they paying for a cell connection to upload the data back to ford? Or are they grabbing it during maintenance work on the vehicle?

      The GPS Sats transmit time, and by using 3 to 4 source (3 required for GPS, 4 required for GPS with elevation), your unit comapres values and determines where you are.

      • by mmell (832646)
        He has still thwarted this particular data collection exploit without losing any of the functionality he paid for. He just chose to disable the data source rather than attempting to interrupt the factory's data feed (which is actually the more desirable of two methods in this particular instance, I think).
      • Or are they grabbing it during maintenance work on the vehicle?

        Sounds like another reason to use an independent motor mechanic. I have been using one for a decade, he is cheaper and generally gets the job done with less hassle than I remember when going to a main dealer.

        Also more convenient: I book him, he arrives, leaves is car at my house while he takes mine to be serviced - this is great since I often work from home I don't need to waste time driving to/from a main dealer.

    • uhmm..... My last car had OnStar. They could track the vehicle. OnStar has it's own cellular module. Even if you don't subscribe to the service if BB wants to track the vehicle they can. I drive a Wrangler now!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
      • by CanHasDIY (1672858) on Tuesday March 11, 2014 @03:40PM (#46457621) Homepage Journal

        uhmm..... My last car had OnStar. They could track the vehicle. OnStar has it's own cellular module.

        Yea, and in many cases it's approximately 1.5 bitches to remove. In my '09 Silverado, for example, the module is behind the gauge cluster, meaning that pretty much the entire dash has to be disassembled and the SRS system disabled, before you can even think about removing OnStar. Then there's the question of, "What other, non-OnStar systems require the connections in that module to operate?" Long story short, auto manufacturers have fucked customizers when it comes to electronic systems, by tying together shit that has no real reason to be tied together.

        Except, oddly, the crash event recorder - it's right under the driver's seat, and can be disabled without so much as moving the seat forward.

        • Yea, and in many cases it's approximately 1.5 bitches to remove... Except, oddly, the crash event recorder - it's right under the driver's seat, and can be disabled without so much as moving the seat forward.

          Maybe so that it can be easily removed (by the police or insurer) in the event of a crash?

          • Yea, and in many cases it's approximately 1.5 bitches to remove... Except, oddly, the crash event recorder - it's right under the driver's seat, and can be disabled without so much as moving the seat forward.

            Maybe so that it can be easily removed (by the police or insurer) in the event of a crash?

            I assumed they could tap into the OBD II port and download the info.

        • by drinkypoo (153816)

          In my '09 Silverado, for example, the module is behind the gauge cluster, meaning that pretty much the entire dash has to be disassembled and the SRS system disabled, before you can even think about removing OnStar.

          That's because you bought a Chevy. Extracting the cluster from a Ford doesn't even require pulling the steering wheel in most cases. [f150forum.com] (It's the first step in removing the dash, not the other way around.) Fords are designed by idiots, but Chevys are designed to fail. And when they do, Chevy thinks they are fucking European when it comes time to buy parts. They won't even sell you the $10 door handles for an Astro. They want to sell you complete mechanisms, totaling $1000 for the whole vehicle. That doesn't in

          • Ahh, a Ford vs Chevy truck pissing match - haven't gotten into one of these in a solid decade!

            You could have bought a Ford. There must be some reason the F-Series is the world's most popular vehicle.

            For the same reason no-name brand Android tablets are the world's most popular mobile devices - they're cheap as hell.

            And you get what you pay for :P

            But you had to go buy a Chevy.

            Yea, because I needed a truck for work, not so I can sit higher than everyone else and feel "safe." There's a reason Chevrolet's are the longest lasting trucks on the road - and it ain't because they're cheaply build, like with a Ford.

            Take that, Blue Oval Boy!!!

            OK, all

    • by Joce640k (829181)

      No, you don't, because I unplugged the GPS antenna (since I don't actually have a nav system), leaving your hardwired spyware trapped uselessly deep inside in a big Faraday cage.

      Yeah, right. When electric cars become common there'll be a law to tax them per mile driven. This law will require you to transmit your location to big brother at all times.

      (nb. It will also prevent terrorism and deny pedophiles the use of the roads, etc.)

      You'll see I'm right, five or ten years from now...

  • "'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."

    What a grandiose statement. Aside from the fact that their data is limited to the car, so they can't possibly know who is mugging someone in a dark alley (which is a law-breaking act), they can't possibly even know who is doing what illegal act within the car. For example:
    1. How do they know who is driving the car?
    2. How do they know what the state of a traffic signal is at the point i

  • by msauve (701917) on Tuesday March 11, 2014 @03:22PM (#46457503)
    Hey, Ford - you're committing a felony under the CFAA [wikipedia.org]. I use my car to go to the store and buy stuff, participating in Interstate Commerce. That make the car's computer a "protected computer" under the act. By accessing GPS info, you're "intentionally access[ing] a computer without authorization... and thereby obtain[ing]... information from any protected computer."

    That subjects you to "a fine under this title or imprisonment for not more than 5 years, or both," since it's being done for commercial advantage.

    And no, even if you got some sort of explicit ToS waiver from the original purchaser of the car, that doesn't extend to any used car buyer.
    • by TubeSteak (669689)

      And no, even if you got some sort of explicit ToS waiver from the original purchaser of the car, that doesn't extend to any used car buyer.

      Now they're going to update all the onboard systems to display an "accept ToS" screen on every start up.
      Thanks msauve. You've made the world a slightly more aggravating place.

      • And no, even if you got some sort of explicit ToS waiver from the original purchaser of the car, that doesn't extend to any used car buyer.

        Now they're going to update all the onboard systems to display an "accept ToS" screen on every start up.
        Thanks msauve. You've made the world a slightly more aggravating place.

        Don't worry, the first time a woman is kidnapped and raped to death because her car wouldn't start until she read and agreed to the ToS, shit'll change back.

        Gonna suck for her, though.

    • Silly rabbit... laws don't apply to corporations
    • by T.E.D. (34228)

      By this logic, you could make the same claim about Microsoft, every time its OS "phones home" for some reason while running on your computer. Somehow, I don't think that will fly.

      It could easily be argued that this is the normal operation of the software that you purchased as part of your hardware purchase, and if you didn't want that you were quite capable of buying somebody else's product that didn't do that. It could also easily be argued that you are a mortal human being while Ford (like Microsoft) is

  • Cars should not become "data monsters", distracting drivers...for the next 10 years or so until they become robot driver cars.

    This whine is a brief interstice between the olden days and the rest of the future. "I don't like buggy whips 'cause it's mean to horses!", screams an irrelevant goofball in 1902.

  • There may be a market out there for innovative use of side cutters on antenna wires.
  • I don't buy new laptops anymore, they have all turned to shit. Keyboards that are lousy for the one job they need to do, touchpads that are worse, boot systems that lock you out, mandatory online account association, malignant operating systems... thank Torvalds performance vs. necessity peaked years ago. I can just keep buying used machines made before this computing cancer spread to the bones.

    Same goes for cars. Boneheaded infotainment systems, I-can't-let-you-do-that-Dave electronic nannies, idiotic m

    • by drinkypoo (153816)

      fortunately, old cars run just fine. They look better, too.

      If you're chasing performance, you want a new car. The new cars don't just have better performance, they also have better handling. For reliability and ride comfort, it is nigh-impossible to beat my 1982 (any 1981-1985, really) 300SD. It really depends on what you're after.

  • I'm fine with my car storing data up to a point. It shouldn't be accessible to anyone short of some "black box" data in the event of an accident. Beyond that, what would anyone truly need the data for?
  • That's not an option for US companies. If you can collect the data, the government can collect the data from you. If the NSA asks for the data, you hand it over... unless you are prepared to out Lavabit style.

There are never any bugs you haven't found yet.

Working...