M2M Services

Are Connected Cars Creepy or Cool?

In their desire to create more attractive and personalized services, telecom companies are increasingly facing difficult choices between using known information about consumers to enable convenience and crossing that mythical line to creepiness.

Or, as we say today when we've shared just one tiny tidbit more than the audience wanted to hear: Too much?

The reality is, many of the companies that we do business with know way more about us than we'd like, but it's who knows what and how they use it that counts.

That's true about connected cars as much as it is about online shopping preferences, location-based advertising, and video viewing choices.

In my recent conversation with Verizon Enterprise Solutions executives on the market Verizon Telematics sees for connected cars, they admitted it's a bit of a fine line, determining how to use the information that exists today about how you drive, where you drive, the maintenance status of your car, and whether you've just been in an accident. (See Verizon Chasing Insurance Telematics Gold.)

In an emergency, we all want first responders to know we need help, and we'd like that done immediately -- but that means sharing an exact location and enough detail about the car's operation to make the accident detectable. And not everyone is cool with letting their insurance company or their automaker know where they are going and when.

We all want cheaper car insurance, and some of us think letting our insurance companies know how safely we drive might accomplish that goal -- while others realize making their driving habits known to insurers will only cause them grief. We'd love automated car maintenance, but do you want the people who sold you the car to be bugging you about oil changes and routine maintenance?

If someone is planning to use car information to sell something -- in-car entertainment or shopping info -- for example, we are more likely to balk. But when you are looking for the closest sushi restaurant in a strange city, such a service could come in handy.

And yes, you could get that info from your smartphone -- if you have one, if it has coverage, and if it's charged.

So when it comes to connected car info, what do you feel the need to share? And who do you want to share it with?

— Carol Wilson, Editor-at-Large, Light Reading

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Phil_Britt 9/13/2013 | 4:55:48 PM
Connected Cars: Other Thoughts Connected cars could also have other uses/creepiness. As a parent, would you like to know where your teen is? As a teen, would you hate that?

Think the answers are yes and yes. This could be another safety aspect that could be touted by the promoters of these features. Though the enterprising teenager would probably find a way around it -- perhaps causing the parent very high repair bills.
DanJones 9/13/2013 | 3:14:38 PM
Re: Already happening I suspect it could become this generation's poisoned umbrella tip favored method of secretive killing by espionage agencies. Probably, not a big fear for most of us. 
Carol Wilson 9/13/2013 | 2:56:50 PM
Re: Already happening That report  is scary. But I've always heard that the most dangerous hackers - i.e., organized crime - go where the money is. They might target fellow criminals to slam on their brakes in a busy freeway but spending hours to hack a car for that kind of activity seems far-fetched.

That's why I was wondering if they can access things like your credit card records or personal information - assuming that it's associated with things like car purchase or maintenance records or insurance records. So obviously all of that stuff has to be behind rock-solid firewalls. 
DanJones 9/13/2013 | 2:53:02 PM
Re: Already happening And Bluetooth


Carol Wilson 9/13/2013 | 2:44:05 PM
Re: Already happening Dan -- Hackers have accessed critical functions in cars via WiFi? 
DanJones 9/13/2013 | 1:08:33 PM
Already happening Already been some Black Hat demos showing they can access critical functions via WiFi. Scary.
pdonegan67 9/13/2013 | 12:51:39 PM
Re: unconnected car Whatever the skilled hacker chooses to go after - unless he/she is effectively prevented from doing so.
[email protected] 9/13/2013 | 11:51:31 AM
Re: I don't understand... The industrywill take stock once someone has a fatal crash that is linked to having the in-car connectivity.

This is a very useful enhancment for telematics but there needs to be some new rules about what is allowed to happen inside a car in terms of distracting applications... very soon people will be asking for slef-drive cars so they don't miss their fave TV show while 'driving'....

PaulERainford 9/13/2013 | 9:29:26 AM
Re: unconnected car Almost right: on the Isle of Wight we have the red squirrels - so much nicer than those yank grey ones that have taken over the mainland. They wear the bonnets here.
Carol Wilson 9/13/2013 | 9:28:02 AM
Re: unconnected car I'm sure the hedgehogs appreciated it. The ones in the UK wear cute little bonnets, right? Or did Beatrix Potter get that wrong?
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