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Car Trackers

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Car Trackers

Old 21st Aug 2019, 06:08
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Ecce Homo! Loquitur...
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Car Trackers

https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/p...move-m56plfnlj

Privacy fear over Mercedes-Benz that track driver’s every move

Privacy experts have raised concern about drivers being snooped on by their cars after it was revealed that Mercedes-Benz tracked customers who defaulted on the company’s payments.

The carmaker admitted that new and used cars sold through its UK dealers have location sensors that can show exactly where a vehicle is if a driver falls behind on a finance plan. It shares this information with third-party bailiffs and recovery firms that can use the data to repossess vehicles........

James Hodgson, an analyst at ABI Research, which specialises in emerging technology, said that most new cars had embedded sensors that could call emergency services, track a car that had been stolen, and alert roadside assistance if a car broke down..... Mr Hodgson added that carmakers were increasingly looking for ways to make money from drivers’ data.......

Mercedes said the technology was only activated when a customer with a lease through Mercedes defaulted and had failed to contact the company.

Christopher Weatherhead, of Privacy International, said: “The ability of individuals to go about their livelihoods without being under surveillance is being impinged, be this through automated number plate recognition, integrated tracking or telematics [information technology] used by insurers. “Vast dossiers are being created on individuals, including on their habits and behaviours, which if hacked, stolen or misused could be used in malicious ways against vehicle owners.”

Mercedes said the sensor was highlighted in all finance agreements and printed on the contract. A spokesman for Daimler, which owns Mercedes, said: “This repossession process is used in a few exceptional cases and only as a last resort when customers default or breach their finance agreement and repeatedly fail requests to return their vehicle. We want to emphasise that this does not mean constant tracking.”


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Old 21st Aug 2019, 06:40
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I would never support the use of technology to spy on people's movements but if looked at from the point of view of Daimler, I suppose they can claim that, until the finance has been fully repaid, the car remains their property and, as such, they are entitled to track their own proprty.
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Old 21st Aug 2019, 06:48
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Quite a few cars now have tracking built-in, perhaps as a side effect of the connectivity that's there for other things. The app for my car always tells me where it is, for example, so if the app knows where the car is then so does the manufacturer.

There's no way to turn this off, either. Even if you don't use the app the car remains connected to the manufacturer's servers, and there is no way in the car to stop this that I know of.

Interestingly I've not signed any agreement to allow the manufacturer to track the car or use data collected from it, yet I'm certain that they do this. Given the need to agree to data sharing that seems to apply to most things, that seems a bit odd.
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Old 21st Aug 2019, 08:03
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Originally Posted by KelvinD View Post
I would never support the use of technology to spy on people's movements but if looked at from the point of view of Daimler, I suppose they can claim that, until the finance has been fully repaid, the car remains their property and, as such, they are entitled to track their own proprty.
Correct. It clearly explains that as a Lease car, the dealer owns the car.

As VP says above, is there meant to be an agreement with data sharing?

With cars and bikes being able to auto dial emergency services in the event of an accident or breakdown, I am surprised this has not been highlighted before now.
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Old 21st Aug 2019, 16:19
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My Mercedes went in for a service today and I was asked if I wanted one of these devices retrofitted at no cost. I accepted the offer and when registering online I gave permission for Mercedes to track the car. Can't see the problem. If I'm not happy I will just disconnect it.
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Old 21st Aug 2019, 16:30
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Originally Posted by Flypro View Post
My Mercedes went in for a service today and I was asked if I wanted one of these devices retrofitted at no cost. I accepted the offer and when registering online I gave permission for Mercedes to track the car. Can't see the problem. If I'm not happy I will just disconnect it.
The issue is with cars that have them built in an integrated so that they cannot be turned off or disabled, I think.

My BMW seems to constantly "phone home" to BMWs servers, telling them where it is, how fast it's going, the status of the doors and windows, plus, I assume, data used by BMW to enable the date of the next service to be determined (seems to do this from the usage pattern). Either the car, or BMW, know that I'm the owner, and things like my date of birth and home address, although I've not given that information to them (I bought the car used, and not from a BMW dealer). I can only assume that they have tied together the vehicle registration data from DVLA together with my driving licence info, although I'm not sure how they've done that. The BMW app always displays where the car is, together with information like whether the windows are open or shut, whether the doors are locked, etc, plus how the car was driven on its last trip (mileage, miles per kWh, average speed, etc).
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Old 21st Aug 2019, 17:38
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Originally Posted by VP959 View Post
My BMW seems to constantly "phone home" to BMWs servers.
Using what communications channel? And if it's the mobile phone network, who pays the monthly charges?
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Old 21st Aug 2019, 17:51
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Originally Posted by Gertrude the Wombat View Post
Using what communications channel? And if it's the mobile phone network, who pays the monthly charges?
TBH, I don't know, but assume it's using mobile 'phone type data transmission. I don't pay the charges, so maybe BMW made some sort of one-off deal for data. I don't even know where in the car any SIM card may be, it's not accessible without dismantling stuff, AFAIK (nothing in the handbook about it). Here's the web connection portal it uses (I just signed in to this initially using the car registration number, I don't bother with any of the paid-for add-ons): https://www.bmw-connecteddrive.co.uk...x.html#/portal
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Old 21st Aug 2019, 18:41
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It is apparently in the TCB teleunit, usually found under the floor of the boot.



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Old 21st Aug 2019, 20:19
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I can understand the leasing company wanting to know where its vehicle is just in case of a need to reprocess
it. However what about a person who buys a car for cash without any leasing or hire purchase agreement, what
if they don't want to be tracked?
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Old 21st Aug 2019, 20:36
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Our Mini Countryman has built in tracking. Clearly mini are tracking where it is at all times which personally I think is useful. It has the auto dial in the event of an emergency either initiated by the driver or by itself if the car believes itself to be severely damaged. We pay nothing for it and I assume is it a low bandwidth mobile phone job. It also has the dial up concierge service whereby we can push a button on the console and dial up some mini central place, ask a question about some local service/restaurant/diy centre etc and mini will find the information and ‘push’ the map data and directions automatically to the sat nav in the car. We find it very useful and have no issues with having it.
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Old 21st Aug 2019, 20:50
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Originally Posted by yellowtriumph View Post
We pay nothing for it and I assume is it a low bandwidth mobile phone job.
That's the bit I don't get.

Assuming you value such a service, does it say in the contract of sale that the service is guaranteed to be provided for the life of the vehicle?

Or can they just turn it off one day when they feel like it?

Or can they start charging a monthly subscription one day when they feel like it?

And what arrangements are in place for someone else to take over providing, and paying for, this free service should the manufacturer go bust some time during the lifetime (20 years?) of the vehicle?

(My car is around 17 years old and only just scraped through its MOT so I do have an interest in learning a bit about modern cars )
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Old 21st Aug 2019, 20:54
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Originally Posted by VP959 View Post
The issue is with cars that have them built in an integrated so that they cannot be turned off or disabled, I think.
I'd be surprised if there wasn't a fuse somewhere, protecting it ...

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Old 21st Aug 2019, 21:05
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Originally Posted by Gertrude the Wombat View Post
That's the bit I don't get.

Assuming you value such a service, does it say in the contract of sale that the service is guaranteed to be provided for the life of the vehicle?

Or can they just turn it off one day when they feel like it?

Or can they start charging a monthly subscription one day when they feel like it?

And what arrangements are in place for someone else to take over providing, and paying for, this free service should the manufacturer go bust some time during the lifetime (20 years?) of the vehicle?

(My car is around 17 years old and only just scraped through its MOT so I do have an interest in learning a bit about modern cars )
Here’s a link describing some of it. Says it’s optional. 4G. When I say it we don’t pay for it I suppose it would be more accurate to say it was ‘included’ in the original purchase price. We certainly pay no ongoing subscription for any of the ‘included’ services. We bought the car on a PCP and it will go back after 3 years so in reality we are not concerned beyond that point.

https://www.press.bmwgroup.com/globa...es?language=en
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Old 21st Aug 2019, 21:17
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The innocent have nothing to fear.



Clearly there are many pros and cons to this 'service' . I suspect many 'woke' and connected smartphone user's locations, browsing habits and pecadillos have been gathered, collated and put to one side for later exploitation.
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Old 21st Aug 2019, 22:03
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Originally Posted by yellowtriumph View Post
so in reality we are not concerned beyond that point.
Ah, I would be.

What I do is

(a) buy a new car
(b) run it until it would be completely bonkers to spend any more on repairing it
(c) throw it away
(d) repeat from (a)

which is why I am interested in support over the entire lifetime.
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Old 22nd Aug 2019, 01:10
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Originally Posted by Gertrude the Wombat View Post
That's the bit I don't get.

Assuming you value such a service, does it say in the contract of sale that the service is guaranteed to be provided for the life of the vehicle?

Or can they just turn it off one day when they feel like it?

Or can they start charging a monthly subscription one day when they feel like it?

And what arrangements are in place for someone else to take over providing, and paying for, this free service should the manufacturer go bust some time during the lifetime (20 years?) of the vehicle?

(My car is around 17 years old and only just scraped through its MOT so I do have an interest in learning a bit about modern cars )
It depends what else they harvest, driving habits, speeds, locations, vehicle health and operating data, take that across the whole mini range and they then have a whole wealth of information to improve future models, identify weaknesses in their designs and target consumers in high mini owner ares with sales advertising.... Stuff they would normally pay a fortune for.
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Old 22nd Aug 2019, 05:39
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The innocent have nothing to fear.
History is full of examples where that has not proved to be the case. I will not be at all surprised if it happens with trackers.
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Old 22nd Aug 2019, 07:10
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Just been digging around on the BMW Connected Drive website and found some FAQs:

What is telematics data?

The term telematics data refers to data that is generated within your vehicle and transferred via an integrated SIM card to the BMW Server in order to provide networked services such as BMW ConnectedDrive or BMW Teleservices.


What is BMW CarData?

BMW CarData allows you to retain an overview of the basic telematics data that your vehicle sends to BMW as part of the BMW ConnectedDrive services where the data is then stored.
If you want to know the current values for these telematics data, you can request a BMW CarData 'data archive' at any time.
You can also use BMW CarData to provide third parties with access to selected telematics data at any time.
A mouse click suffices to provide data access for a third party, to reject such a request or to revoke a data access previously provided.
This means that only you choose which company will receive which telematics data.

What is the cost of using BMW CarData?

The use of BMW CarData is free of charge.

What requirements must I meet as a customer in order to use BMW CarData?

Provided that your vehicle is telematics-enabled, you only need an active BMW ConnectedDrive Portal Account to gain access to this data.
All important telematics data that is transferred to and stored on a BMW server from this time onwards are accessible to BMW CarData.

Which data is collected from my vehicle? For which purpose?

Numerous electronic components in your vehicle contain memories that temporarily store information about the vehicle state and potential fault events.
This data is of a technical nature and serve to identify faults, to repair them and to optimise the vehicle functions.
In order to provide BMW ConnectedDrive services some of the data stored in the vehicle is forwarded to the BMW server in the form of telematics data via the integrated SIM card.

Who has access to this data?

BMW CarData allows you an easy way of obtaining insight into your principal telematics data and to control which third parties should have access to your telematics data.
BMW will always use your telematics data to substantiate, design the content of, or amend your ConnectedDrive contract and to invoice the ConnectedDrive services booked by you.
The number of persons receiving access to telematics data is limited according to the so-called "need to know" principle and is regularly verified.
Where this is required to provide ConnectedDrive services, data may be forwarded to service providers tasked with the execution of the services.
Data is only used by the service provider to render the services and are deleted once this task has been executed.
The telematics data will not be further forwarded to third parties.

How can I prevent the online transfer of telematics data?

The BMW ConnectedDrive basic services "intelligent emergency call" and "Teleservices" can be deactivated by a BMW contract dealer or a BMW branch at any time at the customer's request.
This will also deactivate the SIM card with which the vehicle has been fitted, so that no data transfer from or to the vehicle will be possible.
However, this also means that the vehicle's emergency call function that transfers the vehicle position data to the BMW ConnectedDrive emergency call centre will not work.
For all other ConnectedDrive services, the rule is that no telematics data is transferred as long as the customer does not actively use the service.

Data privacy settings can be configured via the remote cockpit on the BMW ConnectedDrive portal, which may inhibit the transfer of telematics data. Alternatively, in vehicles manufactured from 2019 onwards, data privacy settings can be configured directly in the vehicle.
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Old 22nd Aug 2019, 07:31
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In free for life:

My first Amazon reader only connects via 2G. My next used 3G.

The first had (and might still have) unrestricted mobile access to the internet and thence email albeit very slow. Once cruised in the Med picking up the free signal. Less use in the Caribbean as not all operators are linked with Amazon.

Their 3G connection is only intended for downloading books but you can also access Wiki and then other things are possible.

The whole Amazon mobile data use will probably be near invisible compared with smartly use.
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