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Privacy Transportation

New Usage-Based Insurance Software Can Track Drivers Using Smartphones 137

Posted by timothy
from the do-not-necessarily-want dept.
Lucas123 (935744) writes A new software platform released by one of the nation's largest insurance roadside services providers will allow insurers to track drivers through smartphone sensors and geolocation services in order to offer good driver incentives or emergency roadside assistance. The tracking software is similar to technology currently offered by State Farm's In-Drive and Progressive's Snapshot program, but the latter uses a hardware collection device that plugs into a vehicle's standard OBDII onboard diagnostics port. The new software platform from Agero travels with the driver in and out of the car, so that if a customer is in an accident emergency services are still contacted.
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New Usage-Based Insurance Software Can Track Drivers Using Smartphones

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  • Nope! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 04, 2014 @08:33AM (#47824565)

    Over my dead body! George Orwell is turning in his grave!

  • by Mr D from 63 (3395377) on Thursday September 04, 2014 @08:33AM (#47824567)
    No need to track to help roadside assistance. All you need to know is where the car is at the time it needs assistance.
  • by sinij (911942) on Thursday September 04, 2014 @08:34AM (#47824575) Journal
    This is just another attack surface on my privacy and in case of OBD-II devices on my safety.

    Insurances are not in business to save you money, they are also no in business of securing data or massive distributed sensor networks. Best case scenario - you will save $5/mo while your car/cellphone ends up sending out spam, worst case scenario you will die in a flaming wreck when someone in CN remotely turns your auto-parking feature while you are driving at 75mph.
  • by Mr D from 63 (3395377) on Thursday September 04, 2014 @08:38AM (#47824607)
    "Saving money" = "raising rates less"
  • by sinij (911942) on Thursday September 04, 2014 @08:40AM (#47824631) Journal
    Dear Edwin,

    We have noticed that in the past 30 days you have parked twice near a bar. We regret to inform you that as a result your premium increased by GAZILLION DOLLARS and this information was added to your permanent driving record so you will never be able to get insurance anywhere else again.

    Sincerely,

    Your Insurance Company
  • by Somebody Is Using My (985418) on Thursday September 04, 2014 @08:54AM (#47824767) Homepage

    It's optional today. It'll be mandatory tomorrow.

    Get the consumers used to the idea of being tracked and lead them in the direction you want to go with a carrot in the form of a tiny financial incentive (make up for the lost revenue by increasing insurance rates in general so these "savings" are swallowed up by higher average costs).

    Then once you have enough people subscribed to the tracking, start making the tracking a part of any plan for /new/ users (possibly with an option to stop being tracked after a few years, with a substantial rate hike of course). After all, the insurance company has no idea if you are a good driver or not so it is only in their best interest for them to gather as much information on you as they can. After all, the company is taking a big risk by offering you insurance, you understand.

    Later, force tracking on any existing users who don't already have it. Stop offering any discounts for its use; if the consumer wants insurance, they better prepare to have their every move tracked.

    Meanwhile, make sure to use all this collected information for the company's maximum financial benefit. Sift it for every possible marketing use. Sell it to other companies. Deny coverage because it incriminates the user without checking to see if it is actually accurate. That sort of thing.

    This is the way it always works, creeping slowly ahead to the detriment of the customer. The only way to stop this sort of thing is to squash it before it gets started.

  • Re:Nope! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by kheldan (1460303) on Thursday September 04, 2014 @09:06AM (#47824907) Journal
    I second the motion; fuck that. We're already 'tracked' in enough ways we (apparently) can't control, I'll be damned if I do it willingly. As is I'm getting fucking sick and fed up with feeling more and more every year like we're animals in a zoo or criminals in a prison.
  • by sinij (911942) on Thursday September 04, 2014 @09:07AM (#47824919) Journal
    The OBD-II dongles are not a threat until Metasploit module exploiting this overflow or that out of bound write comes out and cars start crashing. OBD of modern cars have been successfully exploited, considering that cars can easily stay on the road 15+ years and automotive industry only now started taking rudimentary first steps to secure it, it will be 20+ years until such dongles will be safe to use for general public.

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